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What Are Processed Foods?

Processed foods refer to any type of food that has been altered in some way from its original state. When you are trying to lose weight, or improve your diet for any variety of other health reasons, then it is sometimes recommended to cut back on processed food intake. While the biggest problems in the processed food world might be rather obvious (frozen pizzas, hot pockets and canned raviolis might come to mind), these are hardly the only examples of processed foods that are sneaking their way into your diet.


Processed Foods: The Problem

The problem with processed foods is that many items are altered so severely from their original state that by the time you are actually eating the item it barely resembles its original form. Any type of baking or frying is going to process food items, but when you do that process yourself you have greater control over what ingredients are used, and you maintain knowledge and control over what exactly is going into your body.


Buying processed foods completely eliminates that privilege. Processed foods are often easier. You can pop them in the microwave or let them defrost on the counter and suddenly you are ready to eat. However, this convenience can come at a great cost.


Here are a few examples of the types of processed foods that most often sneak their way into our diets:

  • Breakfast cereal
  • Bread
  • Canned veggies
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • “Snack” or granola bars
  • Cold cuts


While not all processed foods are inherently unhealthy, many do have underlying issues that could affect your health in some negative way. IT is always a better idea to take complete control over your diet by shopping for whole foods and preparing them yourself.


You can avoid eating processed foods by putting an emphasis on the number of whole foods you bring in to your diet. Whole foods include any item that has not been changed in any way from its natural state. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are examples of non-processed foods that you can incorporate into your diet without taking a risk of eating unknown ingredients.


Most food items are packaged with overly strong claims about their healthy qualities, but when the item has been processed these healthy claims could be highly questionable. Salt, sugar and preservative chemicals are just a few of the most common culprits that you’ll find in almost any processed item. So as you work to make changes to your diet to improve your health, you may want to consider cutting out processed foods. Talk to your weight loss doctor for more dietary help and suggestions.