Processed foods are not just junk foods but any natural food item which is turned into editable form. Usually processed foods are ready to eat. There are few foods which need to cook or heat before we can eat. These foods are altered from its natural form for safety or convenience. Convenience for consumer is to save time and efforts on cooking food.
Following are few examples of processed foods:
- Breakfast cereals : – rolled oats, flakes, corn flakes, muesli etc.
- Savouries & Namkins: – ready made chidwa, farsan, sev, chips, fries, bakery products etc
- Juices and cold drinks: – all kind of packaged fruit juices, powders
- Tinned vegetables and canned fruits: – Not much used in India but examples are tinned berries, artichoke etc.
- Sauces and paste: – ketchup, jam, jelly, Mayonnaise, spread etc
- Milk products such as paneer, cottage cheese, curd, ice cream etc.
- Processed meat and fish products.
What do these processed foods contain:
As mentioned above these foods are processed to make it safe or for convenience. Convenience for consumer like you and me is it take less time to cook. Example- we use sauces an pastes while cooking food. It take minimum efforts and person can cook food in less time. Few people just don’t have time to cook foo who go for ready to eat meal such as packged cooked vegetables, parahan, cornettoes, chips, etc.
All these food products can be stores for few hours / days or months. This means they have increased shelf life. In some cases increased shelf life is better – as food is made available in draught and sarcastic conditions. But in normal scenario person consuming these foods as regular lifestyle impose some health hazards.
To increase shelf life of these products they use salt, sugar and other preservatives in these products. There few other ingredients also such as corn syrup, transfat, saturated fat, cholesterol etc. usually this information is written on nutrition label on the food product. If you are health consious individual and really want to make healthy choices look for nutrition lable on any food product.
Refined flour, use of corn syrup, added sugar and salt is another drawback of processed foods. Low fiber intake results in indigestion and lower energy levels. Fiber is required for better excretory system, consuming lot of bakery products and processed foods one build digestion related problems. These problems might not be visible at first place but build on gradually.
Addition chemicals, preservatives are not accepted by our body. Thus long term consumption of these things results in health problems such as indigestion, acidity, heart burning sensation etc. If these complaints are over looked they affect basic health functioning and result in lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, increased cholesterol levels, heart diseases etc.
How to Know if the processed food is NOT GOOD For HEALTH?
As mentioned checked for its nutrition label. Read this info to make your choices:
High: more than 17.5g of fat per 100g
Low: 3g of fat or less per 100g
High: more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g
Low: 1.5g of saturated fat or less per 100g
High: more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g
Low: 5g of total sugars or less per 100g
High: more than 1.5g of salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
Low: 0.3g of salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium)
I am sure reading nutrition label will help you select your right food item. To know more about reading nutrition label watch this video: