The Horrors of Processed Foods

Mark Tobola

The Horrors of Processed Foods

2 mins
June 1, 2021

Today's headline that caught my eye was from the BBC News.  It's title read "Which Processed Foods are Better Than Natural?"  The article was full of all sorts of facts, many of which I'd never heard of before at all!  Some facts I was aware of, and others were just downright surprising to me!  But, I'm sure that there are a number of folks out there right now who are already looking at this article and wondering how crazy I really am...  Well, I admit, I AM "Crazy," but not in a bad way!

One of the big surprises was when the article delved into how many people considered frozen vegetables to be not as nutritious as fresh.  The article also went on to discuss how the fact is that frozen vegetables and fruits often have the same or slightly better nutritional composition over fresh.  Now, that's how I've always understood it to be, that frozen is pretty good overall.  It never actually occurred to me to consider it otherwise!

For the most part when the discussion about "processed" foods turns to "processed food is bad for you" is when the "processing" includes a bunch of additives for preserving the food for long term storage, many times without refrigeration.  Here are some bits right from the article itself:

"And while some processing can make a food less nutritious, it can still make food more accessible. Bacon, for example, doesn't improve health, but it gives more people access to meat by preventing food from spoiling.

Processed food also tends to be cheaper, as it can be produced with lower costs. Research has found that healthier foods are three times more expensive than foods that are high in salt, sugar and fat, which are mostly highly processed foods.

But highly processed food – which is made from substances derived from foods and additives – is generally not good for us. Studies have shown that food additives can alter our gut bacteria, and cause inflammation in our bodies, which is linked to higher risk of heart disease.

Also, research shows that people have a tendency to overeat ultra-processed food. Studies have shown that people who eat ultra-processed foods consume more calories overall and gain more weight, and have higher risk of developing heart disease."

I still don't look at frozen vegetables and fruit as "processed" foods.  Canned foods are, admittedly, by their nature, "processed."  But a lot of the food out there is developed using food science, and yes that's a real field.  And a lot of it is for.... flavor, texture, and of course, being able to sit and not go bad for ages without refrigeration.  As for a number of other more "interesting" ideas I've had thrown my way, I cannot either refute them nor support them.  All I know is that mankind has always struggled to eat the right foods, and in this day and age, the struggle to do so is more difficult than ever!

This article was orginally reported by
Mark Tobola

Mark Tobola is a resident of Thorp and weekly columnist.