In most cases, however, the term "processed food" refers to those that are chemically processed and made from heavily refined ingredients and artificial additives. Such processed foods are the bane of Western civilizations' diets.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/artic ... foods.aspx
My go to example of this is corn chips which have added sugar for some flavours. What? Why?
But the funniest article is this one: No processed food for a week.
My plan is to survive for one week without processed food. Ice-cream and chips are banned and there will be no recipe bases to ease me in to dinner. Instead of effortless quick fixes to feed my family, I will make everything from scratch.
I borrow a breadmaker and make French bread. I put water, flour, salt and yeast into the machine and discover it takes about four hours, so I have to nip to the shop if I want lunch.
http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition ... +week,6671
Oops that flour, salt and yeast are all processed foods huh? Virtually all foods we eat are processed to some exent. Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil? Processed. Washed potatoes in a bag? Processed. Wholemeal rice? Processed. Legumes and nuts? All processed. I doubt many people are going to argue these are unhealthy foods.
Rather, I think the problem is foods that are highly refined so that most of the nutrients are taken out, leaving basically energy without much nutrition. These products are referred to by some as "ultra-processed".
ultra-processing is used to make products from combinations of ingredients extracted from whole foods, usually with little or even no whole foods. Also typically, series of processes are used, in the creation of the ingredients and also in the creation of the products, which also usually contain some or many preservatives and cosmetic additives. They are formulated to be hyper-palatable, of long duration, and are usually packaged ready to consume. They are very profitable and aggressively marketed. They are the end product of a chain of processes, often as evident from their ingredients lists. There is a clear correlation between the rise in production and consumption of ultra-processed products, and obesity.
The point the author raises is not to never eat ultra-processed foods.
In countries and areas where most food is industrially processed, it would be tedious and impractical to avoid all ultra-processed products. I am not advocating this. It is a question of proportion. What we should do, as professionals and also as purchasers, is to make sure that ultra-processed products make up a relatively small proportion of food supplies and diets. If consumed, they should not be consumed daily, regularly, or in large amounts, but only sparingly and occasionally.
I think this is a lot more sensible than the generic advice to "avoid processed foods".
So, if we think of processed foods in three groups:
Group 1 foods - Unprocessed or minimally processed foods
Group 2 ingredients - Processed culinary or food industry ingredients
Group 3 products - Ultra-processed products
I think better advice would be to eat most from Group 1, some from Group 2 and little from Group 3.
As I always emphasise, the classification used here does not imply that ultra-processed products are best never consumed. Nobody has ever become ill as a result of consuming one burger, unless it was infected with pathogenic microbes.
The issue is one of proportion. In general, in most countries now, far too many ultra-processed products are consumed. But I do not recommend that ultra-processed products should never be consumed. Nor have I said that any specific ultra-processed product should be cut out of diets. It should be said though, that many ultra-processed products are formulated to be habit-forming, even to the points of having addictive qualities.
Personally, I have seen improvements in my hunger levels from switching from eating mostly Group 3 to eating mostly Group 1 foods. Anyone else?