Everything you did not know about processed foods

The processed foods They seem to have two elements in their favor: they save us considerable time and are usually more attractive than natural ones because of their more intense flavor. Why do we have doubts, then, about their suitability in the diet? Because there are some that are really harmful: their habitual consumption is related to an increased risk of suffering from diabetes, hypertension, obesity, depression and some types of cancer.

The cause of these pathologies is twofold: on the one hand, during processing these foods lose, With part of its content in water, dietary fiber, some minerals (especially potassium, magnesium and calcium) and vitamins; on the other hand, they usually contain higher amounts of sodium, sugars, unhealthy fats and artificial additives, all of which are responsible for their palatability. These drawbacks vary depending on the degree of processing: frozen pizza (highly processed) is not the same as canned tuna or frozen vegetables.

Processed foods: do they nourish?

What is nutritionally more valuable, energetically less caloric and, for both properties, healthier? A toast, watered with virgin olive oil, spread with grated tomato and topped with a thin slice of ham or, on the contrary, an industrial pastry sweet? A homemade stew, with the right amount of salt and fat or, instead, a canned one that contains identical nutrients but with more salt than the healthiest required and more fat? The answer is obvious.

And do not argue that processed foods taste better: not at all! They have 'more', but not 'better' flavor. What happens is that such products, precisely because of their composition (flavor enhancers, among other additives), have rudely influenced our taste sense so that each time it demands higher levels of sensory experience.

Fresh foods and processed foods

What, then, would be advisable? Moderation, as in almost everything related to health. We can not base our diet on these products, but they can be consumed occasionally and combined with fresh foods.

And will we be silent about the capital issue of the time and effort saved by processed foods? The answer will be found if we reflect on this statement: "Tell me what you have time for and I will tell you what you really love". Are we really interested in health? Well, let's dedicate time to that which comes to us.

Said Professor Grande Covián, undoubted authority in nutrition: "Nothing more natural, ecological and biological than the cholera bacteria, and nothing more artificial, synthetic and chemical than chlorine, but thanks to chlorinated water we do not die of cholera". Serve this beginning to clarify what we do not intend with this article: extolling the 'natural' and the 'unprocessed' to demonize the 'chemical' and the 'processed' industrially.

Pedro J. Toranzos. Bachelor of Pharmacy, Diploma in Dietetics and Nutrition, Master in Dietetics.

Video: Whole Foods vs. Processed foods - Ellie Freeman

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