Processed Foods, Yay or Nay?
Many people think that all processed foods are bad for us, but that's not entirely true. Processing simply means that food has been altered in some way from its natural state. This can range from washing and cutting vegetables to adding preservatives or other ingredients to enhance flavor or extend shelf life. Foods can range from minimally processed, to ultra processed.
Some processed foods can be a healthy and convenient option for people who are looking to eat a balanced diet. For example, frozen fruits and vegetables are often just as nutritious as fresh ones, and can be a great option when fresh produce is not available or affordable. In fact, frozen fruits and vegetables are often picked at peak ripeness and immediately frozen, preserving their nutrients and making them a healthy option year-round.
Not all processed foods are created equal. Some processed foods are high in added sugars, sodium, or unhealthy fats, which can lead to health problems if consumed in excess. These are referred to as ultra processed foods, and become very easy to overeat because of their high fat and sugar content. The combination of sugar and fat makes food hyper palatable and super tasty. That is why it's important to read nutrition labels, and choose minimally processed foods whenever possible.