The current crop of super processed foods is altering our insulin resistance, teeth, metabolism, brain chemistry, and internal organs.
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The need for food preservation has historically led the Ancient humans to develop techniques to process food.
From learning to control fire to grinding grains, our ancestors have been able to process food in a variety of ways.
Processed food has aided the evolution of Homo Sapiens: As food became easy to eat and digest, our jaws and teeth became less powerful and smaller.
The shape of our brains and even the development of language resulted partially from our eating habits in our evolutionary path.
Shortages of key ingredients during war-time and the rising need to work for the middle class led to households adopting processed food as an alternative to slow-cooked, authentic home food.
Powdered milk/custard, cereals, pre-made sauces, and biscuits started dominating the dining table due to time shortage and convenience.
Processed food has earned a reputation for being high in saturated fat, sugar, and salt.
Another major concern about processed foods is the long list of complicated ingredients that are cryptic to decode, added to enhance flavor, preserve color, improve consistency, keep ingredients mixed and preserve for longer.
Processed foods are often looked at with disdain, and not without reason. We conjure up an image of ultra-processed, plastic-like foods with suspicious flavours, dipped in synthetic almost-edibles.
But processed food wasn’t always so bad, and has changed our relationship with food over the ages.
The term is not formally defined by the Food and Drug Administration. But, the government agency doesn't object to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.
Natural does not mean organic or healthy. So, always read the ingredient list to really know what's in a food.
Ultra-processed foods like white bread, cereal, chips, and wafers are remarkably common, convenient, affordable, extremely profitable for the makers, come in strong flavors and are aggressively marketed.
These 'ultra-processed' foods are low on essential nutrients while being high in sugar, salt and oils. The base ingredients which are used to 'engineer' these foods (cheap vegetable oils, sugar, flour) are already refined.