Processed foods are bad for you?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2009 2:12 AM GMT
    I often hear that processed foods are bad for you. The following foods are all processed (i.e. they under processing):

    baked chicken breast
    steamed brocolli
    frozen vegatables
    low-fat milk
    steamed fish
    hard-boiled egg whites
    dried fruit
    brown rice

    Surely the idea that "processed foods are bad for you" lacks precision?


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    Mar 09, 2009 5:11 AM GMT
    muchmorethanmuscle got it right. When referring to "processed foods", it's usually off-the-shelf, mass produced food. Basically, if the ingredients list a bunch of chemicals and other things you've never heard of, then it's processed food.
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    Mar 09, 2009 4:08 PM GMT
    To avoid processed food, I only shop around the outer ring of a grocery store. I only venture into the aisles to get my oatmeal and canned tuna.
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    Mar 09, 2009 4:11 PM GMT
    I think it started with highly processed or refined foods that are bad for you...

    But in the media blitz it was shortened to pocessed foods
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    Mar 09, 2009 4:21 PM GMT
    I recommend reading the book The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It gives a lot of insight on food and talks about what are processed foods and why they are bad for you.

    Some things on your list are fine as long as they are natural like chicken breast and broccoli. The key is the chemically restructured part and changed from their natural state. These include things such as twinkies, canned/frozen foods, processed meats.
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    Mar 09, 2009 4:25 PM GMT
    Google up on what goes into a hot dog.
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    Mar 10, 2009 10:56 AM GMT
    PT83 saidThe key is the chemically restructured part and changed from their natural state.


    That includes all cooked foods.

    I just have a problem with the idea that "processed foods are bad for you". That's about as accurate as saying "foods that are bought are bad for you".
  • coolarmydude

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    Mar 10, 2009 12:07 PM GMT
    enriched white bread is the devil. is it no 'wonder'?
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    Mar 10, 2009 3:02 PM GMT
    Coolrabbit said
    PT83 saidThe key is the chemically restructured part and changed from their natural state.


    That includes all cooked foods.



    Raw foodists will drone on endlessly about how cooked food is poison, no other species on earth cooks its food, etc. Thing is, controlled use of fire dates back a very long time. That's well before our species even showed up. So, if cooked food has been an environmental variable during humanity's entire existence, it doesn't make sense to deem it an inappropriate form of human nutrition.
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    Mar 10, 2009 3:36 PM GMT
    paradox said
    Raw foodists will drone on endlessly about how cooked food is poison, no other species on earth cooks its food, etc.


    Most of what I have read or heard about in promotion of a raw food diet doesn't claim cooked food is poison but rather claim that it diminishes far to much of the nutritional value of food. There are certainly proponents of eating raw foods who make claims and used absurd hyperbole to promote those beliefs but they hardly make up the bulk of the promoters of a raw food diet.

    Per the OPs question, I think you are taking the term "processed foods" to an absurd and overly literal end that is not intended by the usage of the term.

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    Mar 10, 2009 3:47 PM GMT
    Very good point and highlights the tremendous confusion that exists. However, most foods found in boxes, other than frozen vegetables, contain a plethoria of chemicals that are not only unnecessary for good nutrition but in some cases can be toxic when the body is exposed for a long time. There is no doubt that the sorry state of the american diet is the result of "processed foods" > And it will only get worth with the bad economy since people are buying cheaper food which almost always is processed.
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    Mar 10, 2009 4:33 PM GMT
    Coolrabbit said

    That includes all cooked foods.

    I just have a problem with the idea that "processed foods are bad for you". That's about as accurate as saying "foods that are bought are bad for you".


    If you take it to the extreme literal, yes cooking food can be considered as processing it. But that's not the context in which most people refer when using the term. They are referring to modern processing techniques that use chemicals and artificial enhancers that increase calorie content compared to the nutritional value typically associated in food.

    Benefits of course include preserving food longer, convenience, artificially enhanced flavors, and relatively cheaper prices (since they are mass produced and altered to last longer). But these are all relatively lower in nutritional value and full of "empty calories." Hence why you see more obesity in lower income groups of people. They eat more processed foods like fast food, frozen/canned foods, and store junk foods which are high on convenience and lower on price but definitely not as healthy.
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    Mar 10, 2009 5:16 PM GMT
    From Wikipedia:

    Nutritionism is an ideology that assumes that it is the scientifically identified nutrients in foods that determine their value in the diet.

    Originally credited to Gyorgy Scrinis, the notion was popularized by Michael Pollan. Pollan's stance was that humans have become disconnected from the natural food chain in such a way as to disrupt instincts relating to food intake, thus necessitating the reliance on nutrition experts to make food choices. Because science has an incomplete understanding of how food affects the human body, Pollan argues, relying solely on nutritionism to make dietary decisions may be fallacious.