Is Processed Food the Enemy?

by Gery Craig - Date: 2007-01-25 - Word Count: 751 Share This!

A quick search on the internet turns up some very divergent
information and opinions regarding "processed food". The vegan
camp eschews any kind of processed food; the food
manufacturer camp touts the safety and convenience of it.

What is processed food? Wikipedia describes "processed food"
as any food that is changed from its natural, raw state.
Following are some of the common food processing techniques
listed in the Wikipedia entry: peeling, chopping, cooking, mixing,
drying, emulsifying, and adding.

Under that broad of a definition, nearly every food we eat is
processed. However, most of us tend to define processed food
in a much narrower sense. For us, "processed food" is food
which has been chemically altered through additives such as
flavors, flavor enhancers, binders, colors, fillers, preservatives,
stabilizers, emulsifiers, etc., or which has been manufactured
through combination or other methods. Generally speaking, if
the ingredients aren't "natural", then we consider it to be

You can make yourself totally paranoid about your food; it's not
too hard to do. There is plenty of information out there spelling
out all the horrors that await you from eating processed food:
the cancers and diseases you will get from the dioxins and
thousands of other toxic chemicals; the shorter life span you will
have; the damage you personally are inflicting upon our planet
through your consumption of processed food, etc. There is no
shortage of Chicken Littles running around squawking about the
sky falling. And, to some extent, they're right. The chemicals in
our food and our environment are certainly not doing us any

But are things really as bad as they make them out to be? The
truth is, processing has made the world's food supply much
safer to eat, and has made the storage of food a much healthier
and more viable option. Processing kills pathogens, and extends
the shelf life of food. Were there to be a food shortage or even
a famine, shelf items are going to keep you alive a lot longer
than raw food, which will be rotten within a few days.
Processing had made it possible to transport food to famine-
stricken areas, thus helping to relieve suffering worldwide.
Processing even increases the bioavailability of some nutrients,
such as lycopene, found in tomatoes.

Despite these benefits, a diet exclusive in processed foods will
almost certainly lead to disease. Our bodies are designed to eat
natural, raw foods; there's no doubt about that. Raw foods
contain beneficial enzymes and nutrients that are destroyed
through processing. We should eat as many raw foods as we
can daily. Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to our meals and
snacks is an easy way to accomplish this. Just because a pill
contains the "nutrients" of a whole shopping list of vegetables
doesn't mean our bodies get the same benefit as eating the
vegetables themselves. Nutrients, enzymes, and other
components of the foods we eat work synergistically. We really
don't know how well they work when they're isolated from each
other, or when we ingest synthetic versions.

However, a totally vegan diet is just not feasible for most
people. They may not have the time, resources nor inclination to
make such a drastic change. Additionally, there is not enough
raw food for everybody to suddenly adopt veganism. We must
each find the proper balance that works for us.

Eliminating all processed food is probably not going to happen
for most of us. But we can make better food choices and
supplement our diets with missing components. We can opt for
the apple over the apple juice. We can choose a baked potato
or salad over french fries. We can choose whole-grain bread
over the white fluff that is passed off as bread. We can take the
time to read food labels. Chances are, if you can't pronounce it,
you shouldn't be eating it. We can choose processed foods with
a very short list of ingredients; the longer the list, the more
processing involved, and the more nutrition lost.

Our bodies are amazing organisms, capable of extraordinary
things. They are designed to filter out toxins at an astounding
rate. They have a highly sophisticated defense system. They
have an amazing ability to recover from serious damage. The
key lies in providing our bodies with the necessary building
blocks to accomplish what they were designed to do-to keep us

Gery Craig is a successful Agel Business Leader. Agel has packaged highly effective nuritionals in a convenient great tasting gel that is a transformation of traditional nutritional supplements. Visit to learn more.

Related Tags: raw food, nutrients, agel, processed food

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