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Diet & Nutrition

Myths and Facts About Processed Foods

I grew up in the dark. I only knew what I was told. I considered processed foods to be part of my diet because the foods simply tasted good, and they are affordable, so that’s what my family ate.

Before I started my studies in holistic nutrition, I would occasionally eat processed foods. Now I rarely have them unless I trust the company and the ingredients. Nearly 90% of what I eat is a whole food. The number is probably greater for the couple of months I’ve been changing my diet with a transformation program and a Candida and parasite cleanse diet. Processed foods are always on the “to avoid” list. That doesn’t surprise me.

Processed foods, abundant and popular as they are, present a significant question about our health and wellness. For optimal health, should we even be eating processed foods? Many argue that food processing makes food more available. Convenience is also a major benefit for some people. I’m not so sure that having these foods available is necessarily a good thing.

There is a lot of information available about processed foods. How do you separate fact from fiction, or the myths from the truth? Are some processed foods healthier than others? Here are 10 myths and facts that you should know.

Myth No. 1: Processed Foods Still Contain Nutrition

Fact: The added nutrition is not beneficial. You have to consider what may be making the processed food nutritious. There are some non-dairy milk and other products that contain enriched vitamins and minerals, which are moderately beneficial to health. Sometimes there are vitamins removed during processing, and added back into the processed food. Cereals, baby formulas and milk or milk products are common processed foods that have been fortified; nutrients that were not previously there have been added. However, there are also processed foods that lose beneficial nutrients completely when processed. Grains and flours do not regain the chromium, zinc or B6 after the food is processed.

Myth No. 2: Frozen and Canned Foods Aren’t Healthy

Fact: There are healthier frozen and canned options. This is another case of looking at the ingredient list. There are some vegetables and fruits that are flash-frozen, and the only ingredients are the fruits or vegetables; however, some brands still contain genetically modified ingredients, additives and preservatives. It also matters how you cook your food as well. Sautee your vegetables and avoid heating them in the microwave. Also, consider the healthier option for canned products. Minimally processed canned beans or soups may have a place within a healthy diet. Look for bisphenol (BPA)-free symbols on the label. BPA is considered a toxic substance.

Myth No. 3: All Processed or Packaged Foods are Unhealthy