People, in general, are moving towards healthier living. Although, there is an increasing number of people who are shifting towards organic and healthy eating options, the culture of fast food is still highly prevalent.
Processed food has been a part of our lives for a long time now. For many of us, it has become a staple in our diets and a way of life. Eliminating a quick and easy choice of processed food as part of your meal, in a fast paced world can be tough for several people. We are always on the move and in a hurry to get some place and many times we do not put a lot of thought into what we are consuming.
Everything we consume food, environment, conversations, entertainment etc. all have an impact on our body and mind. This is quite obvious in the case of food. Our body has the ability to reject and act out if we do not give it the care and nourishment it requires to stay healthy
Chips, sodas, frozen pizzas are few common and extremely popular processed food that is full of sugar, salt and fat. Although, it is a well-known fact that processed food is the cause for the rising obesity among young people and several other health issues; people continue to rely heavily on processed food because of the convenience factor.
Anything from curing, freezing, milling or pasteurization is all part of the process. Nearly, all food is processed. Although processing itself is not unhealthy the term is associated with a negative meaning. Below are a few examples of healthy and unhealthy processed foods –
- packaged cookies,
- instant noodles and
- chicken nuggets
- breakfast cereals,
- energy bars and
- some yogurts
What Keeps People Hooked on To Processed Foods?
Consumption of processed food for a long period of time can be detrimental to life. Yet, there is still a large part of society that still survives on processed food. Here are few characteristics of processed food that can have people hooked on to it –
- Convenience is a huge factor. Most unhealthy processed food does not require much cooking time. Hence it is quick and easy.
- Processed foods like cheese, ice cream etc. are packed with flavour, which could be a reason why people find it hard to stop eating them. The taste may have an addictive quality to it that some people enjoy.
- One of the findings of the clinical trials was that minimally processed food produced more of a hormone that suppresses hunger and less created an appetite. Hence, people tend to eat more and also eat faster, was the other finding.
- Processed food is softer to chew and easier to swallow resulting in overeating.
- The role of the nutrients added to processed food is different from that of natural foods. For example, the fiber in plants and fruits will help you stay fuller for longer but this is not the case for fiber in processed food.
Replacing Processed Foods with Healthy Foods
Even without all the studies and findings, limiting processed food seems like the right option for many people. Foods that are natural or minimally processed are richer in nutrients and keeps you full for longer hence you don’t tend to overeat unlike in the case of processed food.
Another big challenge with processed food is that companies have recognized the shift to healthy eating, hence; they are constantly re-engineering their food to make it seem more wholesome. Consequently, it becomes difficult to differentiate if a particular type of processed food, packaged to be wholesome is actually healthy or not.
Despite these factors holding us back it becomes essential to strive to eat healthily and live a healthy lifestyle for a happier life.