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The difference between processed and unprocessed foods

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The difference between processed and unprocessed foods

A majority of people including professionals don’t understand the topic of processed vs unprocessed foods. The differences are not as simple as we’d like them to be especially considering the blurry definition of “processed.”

Technically speaking, if food is transformed in any way, it’s considered processed. Searing steaks and steaming vegetables make them processed, but many people consider these foods unprocessed.

People often think if it comes it in a box, it must be processed and automatically bad for you. Their logic is if unprocessed foods are good, processed must be bad. This dichotomous way of thinking has led many to believe just because one thing is better, then it’s counterpart must automatically be damaging.

Let’s take a look at the true differences between processed and unprocessed. For the sake of explanation, I’ll be referring to minimally processed foods as unprocessed and more processed foods as processed.

A majority of people including professionals don’t understand the topic of processed vs unprocessed foods. The differences are not as simple as we’d like them to be especially considering the blurry definition of “processed.”

Technically speaking, if food is transformed in any way, it’s considered processed. Searing steaks and steaming vegetables make them processed, but many people consider these foods unprocessed.

People often think if it comes it in a box, it must be processed and automatically bad for you. Their logic is if unprocessed foods are good, processed must be bad. This dichotomous way of thinking has led many to believe just because one thing is better, then it’s counterpart must automatically be damaging.

Let’s take a look at the true differences between processed and unprocessed. For the sake of explanation, I’ll be referring to minimally processed foods as unprocessed and more processed foods as processed.

You’re probably thinking, “That’s great and all that processed foods aid in feeding third world countries, but what about me sitting in my 1st world air-conditioned room scrolling through my iPhone? Won’t eating processed foods kill my health, make me fat, and give me cancer?”

Not quite. Your body composition and health can improve by including processed foods into your diet.

While processed foods can be processed to contain or preserve nutrients better, this is not the case with most of the food items.

Generally speaking, most processed foods contain compromised micronutrient profiles. The more processed a food is, the fewer micronutrients and fiber it contains.

So while you technically can improve your overall health by improving body composition through eating processed foods, you will likely sacrifice other aspects of health like nutrient deficiencies and digestive health.

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