What are Processed Foods?
Processed foods are foods that have been compromised by the addition of hormones, additives, preservatives, unnatural genetic material or other chemical or heat treatments that alter or destroy the natural healthy enzymes, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
The main goal of food processing is to lengthen the shelf life of foods so that larger amounts can be sold over time.
In contrast, whole foods are simple and basic. Whole foods need no processing – they are ready to eat off the vine or the fire; whole foods age as you and I do, and they must be eaten when fresh.
A-List of Processed Food
Ever notice that the sources of the ingredients in processed foods are shrouded in mystery? Food manufacturers even patent some of the processing methods they use. For example, the process for making Splenda, an artificial sweetener, is a big secret and patented with the US Government.
Seems to me that if you have to keep the process for how food is made a big secret, it probably means that if most people knew the process, they wouldn’t eat the food.
Here’s a shortlist of some common processed foods (most have very long shelf lives):
- White wheat flour, especially bleached white flour
- Refined sugars (crystalline fructose, maltodextrin, dextrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, maple syrup, date sugar, cane sugar, brown rice syrup, corn sugar, beet sugar, agave syrup, etc..)
- Margarine and other hydrogenated vegetable fats
- Refined vegetable oils
- Artificial sweeteners
- Food additives
- Canned foods
- Boxed foods such as meal mixes, cereal, and pasta
- Soft drinks and sugary “fruit” drinks, which are loaded with white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, and other food additives.
- Fast food, which is a source of trans fats
- Cheese food, packaged cakes and cookies, chips, snack food crackers, and other junk food
- Processed meat products (sausage, bologna, bacon, packaged ham, and salami) if they contain artificial colors and soy fillers.
- Frozen foods such as tv dinner meals, fish sticks, pizza rolls, and similar foods
- Soy products such as soy milk, soy cheese, soy protein isolate, and other processed soy foods. Natural soybeans taste horrible; it’s Nature’s way of warning about the dangers of soy. In order to make soy products edible, soy manufacturers have to add large amounts of sugar, MSG and other flavorings and spices.
- Powdered milk and eggs: Commercial milk powders contain oxysterols (oxidized cholesterol) in high amounts. The oxysterol free radicals have been suspected of being initiators of atherosclerotic plaques. Powdered eggs contain even more oxysterols.
Why is this important to eye care? Because there is a direct link between eye health and body health and eating right is foundational to wellness and health.