The vast majority of the foods people eat every day are processed foods. That means the foods have been treated in some way to safely stay on grocery store shelves for longer periods of time. It also frequently involves combining ingredients that can be quickly and easily be prepared by the consumer. Although processed foods are very popular and convenient, they are generally considered to be less healthy than non-processed foods.
Benefits of Processed Foods
Food processing involves cleaning and removing toxins from food, which can reduce the risks of food-borne diseases. Treating food with preservatives and sealing them in containers helps them remain stable, without spoiling, for a much longer period of time than fresh foods. This allows foods to be transported long distances and makes seasonal foods available year around. People today can enjoy a much more varied diet and a more stable food supply than in the days before food processing technology existed. Another advantage is the convenience of processed foods that can be served with a minimum of preparation.
Disadvantages of Processed Foods
Many nutrients are lost through food processing. Heating food can destroy vitamin C, for example. Processed foods are susceptible to contamination from the metal equipment used to chop or mix the ingredients. In addition, processed foods typically contain more sugar, fat, and salt than non-processed versions of the recipes. Salt is a preservative, and all three ingredients give processed foods a lot of flavor. People are also concerned about the chemical preservatives and artificial colors and flavors commonly added to processed foods, some of which present known health risks.
Hampton Creek – A Healthy Alternative
Hampton Creek, the maker of the egg-free Just Mayo and Just Cookie Dough, is a company that is dedicated to making healthier processed foods. They use no animal products in their ingredients and avoid the food additives that make most processed foods unhealthy. By making foods using only healthy, plant-based ingredients, they hope to change the way processed foods are made all over the world. Check out this article by Hampton Creek to learn more about their products and philosophy.