We talk a lot about processed foods, mostly telling you not to eat them! We’ve been examining many of our client’s diets and are finding that several are still eating these ‘processed foods’! Upon questioning, we found that most of the clients simply didn’t think of the foods they were eating as ‘processed foods’. Therefore, we put together this post to better explain what we mean by the term ‘processed foods’ and why they are detrimental to your long-term health.
‘Processed foods’ include any food products that have more processing than shipping, handling, washing, drying, simple mixing or dehydrating. Through processing, these foods lose many vital nutrients, especially minerals. Some companies try and ‘fortify’ their processed foods with added vitamins and minerals, often times trying to replace some of what has been lost. However, most times two to three times more nutrients are lost than are replaced, and often times, they are replaced with synthetic variants of the nutrients that are far inferior to the original product. It would be like taking your home from you and replacing it with a large cardboard box – you may be able to live in it, but not nearly as well or as comfortably as before. So it is with processed, fortified foods – your body may be able to use some of the nutrients, but the original product would be far superior. Therefore, we encourage all our clients to eat whole foods in as close to the natural state as possible. This means eating foods that are grown, shipped to you and eaten in a relatively short period of time and with little else done to them.
So what foods are considered processed foods?? A quick look at the label will tell you if the food you are looking at is processed. If it is fortified, contains flour or sugar, or has any additives, preservatives, colorings or any ingredient with a number in it (!) it is processed. Here is a partial listing:
|ALL breads||Bagels||Donuts||All fast foods|
|Chips||Anything in a box||Pasta||Canned juices|
|Pop/soda||Catsup/mustard||Most baked goods||Dips and sauces|
|Microwave popcorn||Candy||Ice Cream||TV dinners|
|Pizza||Hot dogs / bologna||Cured meats||Brats / Sausage|
|Any products containing flour or sugar||Most ‘energy’ drinks/bars||Coffee / cappuccino||Cheese and most dairy products|
A special note on bread. ALL breads are processed foods. Those containing whole grains are slightly less processed than plain white or wheat bread. Only breads claiming ‘100% whole wheat/grain’ and are sprouted are the least processed.
So what do you eat? Raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and small portions of organically raised fish, fowl, wild game and lots of water and herbal tea. You can obviously eat whatever you desire, but the fewer processed foods in your diet, the healthier you will be and the more you will be able to enjoy a vibrant and disease-free life.