Why is processed food a health risk?
The health concerns of processed food has been in the research domain for decades now. The multi-billion dollar food processing and manufacturing industry has been heavily investing in the preparation and marketing of tasty processed food products at an attractive and affordable pricing. Consumers rarely pay attention to the nutritional facts of these food items that floods our grocery stores.
Even though there is a lot of ongoing research happening and some information is readily available in the public domain, people tend to disregard the alarming health concerns surrounding it. A Primary cause for most of our health issues are due to poor diet and unhealthy choices.
Pre-package food has a high level of risk since it often contains a range of taste-makers, other additives and preservatives. In most countries, it is mandatory to indicate in the package the key ingredients used in the product and the country of origin of the product. It is often the case that we do not understand the chemicals added as preservatives and other taste-making additives. Studies shows that consumption of these ingredients in long term may lead to several minor and major health problems.
Are there any health risks in products with longer shelf life?
Processed food items are often prepared to instantly consume with little or no cooking. For its longer shelf life, these food often packaged and preserved with different types oils, chemicals or salt. The excessive use of these items in long-term can affect our health and also damage body organs. There are enough research data to suggest that certain commonly seen diseases are triggered due to our routine food habits.
Some of the commonly known diseases are diabetes, obesity, heart disorder or cancer. Awareness and careful approach in our food choices might help to reduce the risk of these diseases:
- Added Sugar – For artificially sweetening food often extra sweeteners like sugar, concentrated fruit juice or artificial sweeteners are added.
- Artificial flavours – These are taste makers which are mostly chemical substances. MSG (mono sodium glutamate) is one of the harmful agent commonly used in food.
- Artificial Preservatives – Chemicals added in food for longer shelf life.
- Food texture – Chemicals or ingredients like corn starch is added to the food to get a particular consistency or texture.
- High in Carbohydrates – Processed carbohydrates can cause quick blood sugar and insulin in the body
- High in Trans fats – trans fats as a food additive are usually made by adding hydrogen into vegetable oil or fat. Studies have shown increased risk of heart diseases due to trans fats.
- Less Fibre in food – Often packaged food has less fibre and cause the body sugar level going up and down quickly. This result is more frequent eating for the body to maintain consistent energy level.
The overall wellness depends primarily on the health of our physical body. Choosing healthy diet is important to provide our body the adequate nutrition and energy to sustain a healthy body and mind.
- Avoid food that contains artificial flavors or preservatives
- Choose food that contains mostly natural ingredients
- Make sure trans fat or saturated fat are in reasonable levels
- Avoid food with artificial sweeteners
- Choose food with less sodium (salt)
- Avoid food that contains MSG (Monosodium glutamate). MSG is used as a taste-maker salt substitute mostly in Chinese/Asian cuisines
- Avoid food that is high in sugar
NOTE: Read the ingredients on the label to make sure it is not harmful to body and or at excessive levels.