Processed Foods: The Pros and Cons – A Balanced View

In foods processing, harvested crops or butchered animals are applied as the raw components for making and packaging foods solutions that are eye-catching, marketable and have extended-shelf lives.

Beautiful usually means that the item both of those preferences and appears to be superior. To be marketable, it ought to match the types of foods getting demanded by shoppers. Food items solutions that have a extended-shelf daily life cut down the charges of wastage for producers, distributors and suppliers.

Growth of foods processing

Food items processing dates back to our prehistory — when hearth was uncovered and cooking invented. The different techniques in which foods can be cooked are all sorts of foods processing.

Food items preservation also started in prehistory, and the initially ‘long shelf-life’ foodstuff have been made by drying foods in the sunshine and by preserving foods with salt. Preservation with salt was typical with troopers, sailors and other vacationers until eventually canning was invented in the early nineteenth century.

The historical Bulgarians invented the initially instant foods (bulgur) just about eight.000 yrs back, when observed a way to parboil and dry whole wheat so that the grain only has to be reheated before it can be eaten.

A single of the initially all set-to-take in meals was devised by the historical Celts when they invented the haggis and what is now identified as the Cornish pasty.

A further processed foods, cheese, was invented by the nomads of Arabia when they observed how milk curdled as they jogged alongside all day on their camels and ponies.

The prehistoric solutions of cooking and preserving foods remained mostly unchanged until eventually the industrial revolution.

The progress of modern foods processing technologies started in the early nineteenth century in response to the desires of the armed service. In 1809 a vacuum bottling technique was invented so Napoleon could feed his troops. Canning was invented in 1810 and, right after the makers of the cans stopped making use of guide (which is hugely toxic) for the inner lining of the tins, canned goods became typical during the planet. Pasteurisation, uncovered in 1862, sophisticated the micro-organic basic safety of milk and very similar solutions appreciably.

Cooling decreases the reproductive amount of microorganisms and so the amount at which foods spoils. Cooling as a storage technique has been in use for hundreds of yrs. Ice-houses, packed with clean snow during the wintertime, have been applied to preserve foods by chilling from the mid-18th century onwards and worked rather nicely most of the yr spherical in northern climates.

Industrial refrigeration, making use of toxic refrigerants which designed the technologies unsafe in the residence, was in use for nearly 4 decades before the initially domestic fridges have been introduced in 1915.

Fridges in the residence obtained large acceptance in the 1930s when non-toxic and non-flammable refrigerants these kinds of as Freon have been invented.

The expansion of the foods processing business in the 2nd 50 percent of the 20th century was because of to three desires:(a) foods to feed the troops effectively during Planet War II, (b) foods that could be consumed underneath situations of zero gravity during forays into outer house, and (c) the pursuit of the advantage demanded by the active shopper culture.

To reply to these desires foods researchers invented freeze-drying, spray-drying, and juice concentrates among a host of other processing technologies. They also introduced artificial sweeteners, colouring brokers and chemical preservatives. In the closing yrs of the previous century they came up with dried instant soups, reconstituted juices and fruits, and the ‘self-cooking’ meals (MREs) so beloved of armed service brass but not the grunts.

The ‘pursuit of convenience’ has guide to the expansion of frozen foodstuff from straightforward bags of frozen peas to juice concentrates and complicated Tv set dinners. Individuals who process foods now use the perceived worth of time as the basis of their current market attractiveness.

Added benefits of processed foodstuff

At first, processed foodstuff helped to ease foods shortages and increase overall nutrition by making new foodstuff offered globally. Present day foods processing delivers many additional rewards:

  • De-activating the pathogenic micro-organisms observed in clean greens and raw meats (these kinds of as salmonella), minimizes foods-borne health conditions and can make foods safer.
  • Due to the fact processed foodstuff are a lot less inclined to spoilage than clean foodstuff, modern processing, storage and transportation can deliver a large assortment of foods from close to the planet, providing us decisions in our supermarkets that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors.
  • Processing can frequently increase the taste of foods, however it can also have the reverse impact.
  • The dietary worth of foods can be amplified by the addition of further nutrition and natural vitamins during processing.
  • The dietary worth can also be designed far more consistent and reputable.
  • Present day processing technologies can also increase the good quality of daily life for people today who have allergies by getting rid of the proteins that trigger allergic reactions.
  • The mass output of foods usually means that processed foodstuff are much more affordable to develop than the expense of making meals from raw components at residence.

Processed foodstuff are also exceptionally effortless. Homes are freed from the time-consuming duties of preparing and cooking foodstuff that are in their organic point out… the foods processing business can make everything from peeled potatoes all set for boiling to ready-meals that just have to be heated in a micro-wave oven for a handful of minutes.


Processed foodstuff are undoubtedly a excellent boon. But all is not sweetness and light.

Usually talking, clean unprocessed foods will contain a bigger proportion of obviously happening fibre, natural vitamins and minerals than the very same foods right after processing by the foods business. Vitamin C, for illustration, is wrecked by heat and so clean fruit will contain far more vitamin C than canned fruit.

In truth, nutrition are frequently deliberately removed from foods during processing in order to increase taste, look or shelf-daily life. Illustrations include bread, pasta and all set-designed meals.

The final result is empty energy. Processed foodstuff have a bigger ratio of energy to other vital nutrition than clean, unprocessed foodstuff. They are frequently power-dense while getting nutritionally poor.

Processing can introduce hazards that are not observed in unprocessed foodstuff, because of to additives, preservatives, chemically-hardened vegetable oils or trans-fats, and too much sugar and salt. In truth, the additives in processed foodstuff… flavourings, sweeteners, stabilisers, texture-maximizing brokers and preservatives among other… may well have tiny or no nutritive worth, or may well truly be unhealthy.

Preservatives applied to extend shelf-daily life, these kinds of as nitrites or sulphites, may well guide to unwell-health. In truth, the addition of many chemical substances for flavouring and preservation has been proven to trigger human and animal cells to increase swiftly, without the need of dying off, so rising the danger of a assortment of cancers.

Low-priced components that mimic the homes of organic components, these kinds of as trans-fats designed by chemically-hardening vegetable oils that acquire the place of far more-pricey organic saturated fats or cold-pressed oils, have been proven to trigger intense health complications in several experiments. But they are nonetheless extensively applied mainly because of their low-expense and shopper ignorance.

Sugars, fats and salts are commonly additional to processed foodstuff to increase flavour and as preservatives. As diabetics, we are all nicely aware of the outcomes of too much sugar, excess fat and on our presently ruined units. Feeding on massive amounts of processed foods usually means consuming way too much sugars, fats and salts, which, even if you a in total health, can guide to a assortment of complications these kinds of as large blood force, cardiovascular health conditions, ulcers, tummy cancer, being overweight, and of course diabetes.

A further challenge with processed foodstuff is that, wherever low-good quality components are applied, this can be disguised during producing.

In the processing business, a foods item will go as a result of a number of intermediate ways in impartial factories before it is finalised in the factory that finishes it.

This is very similar to the use of sub-contractors in automobile producing, wherever many impartial factories solutions sections, these kinds of as electrical units, bumpers, and other sub-units, in accordance with the final manufacturer’s specifications. These sections are then offered to the automobile plant wherever the automobile is lastly assembled from the acquired-in sections.

Due to the fact the components in processed foodstuff are frequently designed in massive portions during the early phases of the producing process, any cleanliness complications in the services that develop a essential component that is applied extensively by other factories in the later on phases of output can have major outcomes on the good quality and basic safety of many final foods solutions.

Inspite of the hazards, every person eats processed foodstuff nearly completely nowadays. As a final result, people today take in far more promptly and no more time appear to be aware of the way foods is developed and how it is a reward of nature.

It appears to me, also, that foods has develop into far more of a needed interruption in our active lives and a lot less of a social situation to be liked.

Feeding on processed foodstuff

You are unable to get absent from feeding on some processed foodstuff… the advantage is irresistible.

When you take in processed foodstuff you cut down the probability of getting poisoned or choosing up a foods-borne illness. The dietary worth of what you take in may well be far more consistent and you will most likely be ingesting far more nutrition and natural vitamins than you would get by feeding on only unprocessed foods.

On the other hand, by feeding on processed foodstuff you are exposing your self to a possible decline of heat-delicate natural vitamins and nutrition that are removed to increase shelf-daily life, taste and look. You are also exposing your self to the possible adverse outcomes on your health of different additives and preservatives, some of which can be very major without a doubt.

The calorie-dense nature of processed foodstuff, because of to the massive portions of sugars and fats they contain, can make them exceptionally problematic for diabetics and these with large cholesterol and blood force stages.

The only remedy is to choose the processed foodstuff you purchase with severe care — by studying the labels on the packaging — and to emphasis your diet plan on clean or frozen develop as much as probable.

Source by Paul D Kennedy

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