Processed Foods: The Pros and Cons – A Balanced View

  • By admin
  • October 16, 2019
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In meals processing, harvested crops or butchered animals are used because the uncooked components for making and packaging meals merchandise which might be enticing, marketable and have long-shelf lives.

Engaging signifies that the product each tastes and appears good. To be marketable, it should match the sorts of meals being demanded by customers. Meals merchandise which have a long-shelf life cut back the prices of wastage for producers, distributors and retailers.

Growth of meals processing

Meals processing dates again to our prehistory — when fireplace was found and cooking invented. The assorted methods through which meals might be cooked are all types of meals processing.

Meals preservation additionally started in prehistory, and the primary ‘lengthy shelf-life’ meals had been produced by drying meals within the solar and by preserving meals with salt. Preservation with salt was widespread with troopers, sailors and different vacationers till canning was invented within the early 19th century.

The traditional Bulgarians invented the primary prompt meals (bulgur) practically 8.000 years in the past, when discovered a strategy to parboil and dry entire wheat in order that the grain solely needs to be reheated earlier than it may be eaten.

One of many first ready-to-eat meals was devised by the traditional Celts after they invented the haggis and what’s now generally known as the Cornish pasty.

One other processed meals, cheese, was invented by the nomads of Arabia after they seen how milk curdled as they jogged alongside all day on their camels and ponies.

The prehistoric strategies of cooking and preserving meals remained largely unchanged till the commercial revolution.

The event of recent meals processing expertise started within the early 19th century in response to the wants of the army. In 1809 a vacuum bottling approach was invented so Napoleon might feed his troops. Canning was invented in 1810 and, after the makers of the cans stopped utilizing lead (which is extremely toxic) for the inside lining of the tins, canned items grew to become widespread all through the world. Pasteurisation, found in 1862, superior the micro-biological security of milk and comparable merchandise considerably.

Cooling decreases the reproductive price of micro organism and thus the speed at which meals spoils. Cooling as a storage approach has been in use for tons of of years. Ice-houses, filled with contemporary snow in the course of the winter, had been used to protect meals by chilling from the mid-18th century onwards and labored pretty nicely many of the yr spherical in northern climates.

Business refrigeration, utilizing poisonous refrigerants which made the expertise unsafe within the house, was in use for nearly 4 a long time earlier than the primary home fridges had been launched in 1915.

Fridges within the house gained broad acceptance within the 1930s when non-toxic and non-flammable refrigerants comparable to Freon had been invented.

The growth of the meals processing trade within the second half of the 20th century was as a consequence of three wants:(a) meals to feed the troops effectively throughout World Struggle II, (b) meals that might be consumed underneath circumstances of zero gravity throughout forays into outer area, and (c) the pursuit of the comfort demanded by the busy shopper society.

To reply to these wants meals scientists invented freeze-drying, spray-drying, and juice concentrates amongst a number of different processing applied sciences. Additionally they launched synthetic sweeteners, colouring brokers and chemical preservatives. Within the closing years of the final century they got here up with dried prompt soups, reconstituted juices and fruits, and the ‘self-cooking’ meals (MREs) so beloved of army brass however not the grunts.

The ‘pursuit of comfort’ has result in the growth of frozen meals from easy baggage of frozen peas to juice concentrates and sophisticated TV dinners. Those that course of meals now use the perceived worth of time as the muse of their market attraction.

Advantages of processed meals

Initially, processed meals helped to alleviate meals shortages and enhance general diet by making new meals out there globally. Trendy meals processing delivers many further advantages:

  • De-activating the pathogenic micro-organisms present in contemporary greens and uncooked meats (comparable to salmonella), reduces food-borne illnesses and makes meals safer.
  • As a result of processed meals are much less inclined to spoilage than contemporary meals, trendy processing, storage and transportation can ship all kinds of meals from all over the world, giving us selections in our supermarkets that will have been unimaginable to our ancestors.
  • Processing can usually enhance the style of meals, although it might probably even have the other impact.
  • The dietary worth of meals might be elevated by the addition of additional vitamins and nutritional vitamins throughout processing.
  • The dietary worth may also be made extra constant and dependable.
  • Trendy processing applied sciences can even enhance the standard of life for individuals who have allergy symptoms by eradicating the proteins that trigger allergic reactions.
  • The mass manufacturing of meals signifies that processed meals are less expensive to supply than the price of making meals from uncooked components at house.

Processed meals are additionally extraordinarily handy. Households are free of the time-consuming duties of getting ready and cooking meals which might be of their pure state… the meals processing trade makes every part from peeled potatoes prepared for boiling to prepared-meals that simply need to be heated in a micro-wave oven for a couple of minutes.


Processed meals are undoubtedly an ideal boon. However all isn’t sweetness and light-weight.

Typically talking, contemporary unprocessed meals will comprise the next proportion of naturally occurring fibre, nutritional vitamins and minerals than the identical meals after processing by the meals trade. Vitamin C, for instance, is destroyed by warmth and so contemporary fruit will comprise extra vitamin C than canned fruit.

Certainly, vitamins are sometimes intentionally faraway from meals throughout processing with the intention to enhance style, look or shelf-life. Examples embody bread, pasta and ready-made meals.

The result’s empty energy. Processed meals have the next ratio of energy to different important vitamins than contemporary, unprocessed meals. They’re usually energy-dense whereas being nutritionally poor.

Processing can introduce hazards that aren’t present in unprocessed meals, as a consequence of components, preservatives, chemically-hardened vegetable oils or trans-fats, and extreme sugar and salt. Certainly, the components in processed meals… flavourings, sweeteners, stabilisers, texture-enhancing brokers and preservatives amongst different… might have little or no nutritive worth, or may very well be unhealthy.

Preservatives used to increase shelf-life, comparable to nitrites or sulphites, might result in ill-health. In actual fact, the addition of many chemical compounds for flavouring and preservation has been proven to trigger human and animal cells to develop quickly, with out dying off, thus growing the danger of a wide range of cancers.

Low-cost components that mimic the properties of pure components, comparable to trans-fats made by chemically-hardening vegetable oils that take the place of more-expensive pure saturated fat or cold-pressed oils, have been proven to trigger extreme well being issues in quite a few research. However they’re nonetheless extensively used due to their low-cost and shopper ignorance.

Sugars, fat and salts are normally added to processed meals to enhance flavour and as preservatives. As diabetics, we’re all nicely conscious of the results of extreme sugar, fats and on our already broken methods. Consuming giant quantities of processed meals means consuming an excessive amount of sugars, fat and salts, which, even if you happen to a in full well being, can result in a wide range of issues comparable to hypertension, cardiovascular illnesses, ulcers, abdomen most cancers, weight problems, and naturally diabetes.

One other downside with processed meals is that, the place low-quality components are used, this may be disguised throughout manufacturing.

Within the processing trade, a meals product will undergo a number of intermediate steps in impartial factories earlier than it’s finalised within the manufacturing facility that finishes it.

That is just like the usage of sub-contractors in automobile manufacturing, the place many impartial factories merchandise components, comparable to electrical methods, bumpers, and different sub-systems, in accordance with the ultimate producer’s specs. These components are then bought to the automobile plant the place the automobile is lastly assembled from the bought-in components.

As a result of the components in processed meals are sometimes made in giant portions in the course of the early phases of the manufacturing course of, any hygiene issues within the amenities that produce a fundamental ingredient that’s used extensively by different factories within the later phases of manufacturing can have severe results on the standard and security of many remaining meals merchandise.

Regardless of the hazards, everybody eats processed meals virtually solely these days. Because of this, folks eat extra rapidly and now not appear conscious of the way in which meals is grown and the way it’s a present of nature.

It appears to me, additionally, that meals has turn out to be extra of a mandatory interruption in our busy lives and fewer of a social event to be loved.

Consuming processed meals

You possibly can’t get away from consuming some processed meals… the comfort is irresistible.

Whenever you eat processed meals you cut back the probability of being poisoned or choosing up a food-borne illness. The dietary worth of what you eat could also be extra constant and you’ll most likely be ingesting extra vitamins and nutritional vitamins than you’d get by consuming solely unprocessed meals.

Alternatively, by consuming processed meals you might be exposing your self to a possible lack of heat-sensitive nutritional vitamins and vitamins which might be eliminated to enhance shelf-life, style and look. You might be additionally exposing your self to the potential hostile results in your well being of varied components and preservatives, a few of which might be very severe certainly.

The calorie-dense nature of processed meals, because of the giant portions of sugars and fat they comprise, makes them extraordinarily problematic for diabetics and people with excessive ldl cholesterol and blood stress ranges.

The one answer is to decide on the processed meals you purchase with excessive care — by studying the labels on the packaging — and to focus your weight loss program on contemporary or frozen produce as a lot as attainable.


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