A processed food is any food that has been altered in some way during preparation, either by freezing, canning, baking or drying.
More Nigerian are now basically relying on processed and canned foods such as noodles which have become the major food in up 99% of Nigerian families even people residing in the villages and remote areas.
Eating processed food can stimulate a compound in the body system that acts as a neurotransmitter thereby making you get addicted to such food without knowing long lasting harm to the body system due to certain preservatives such as food chemicals that have been added to preserve them.
Not all processed foods are unhealthy but some processed foods may contain high levels of salt, sugar and fat.
Examples of common processed foods include:
- breakfast cereals
- tinned vegetables
- savory snacks, such as crisps, sausage rolls, pies and pasties
- meat products, such as bacon, sausage, ham, salami and pate
- microwave meals or ready meals
- cakes and biscuits
- fizzy drinks
Not all processed food is a bad choice. Some foods need processing to make them safe, such as milk, which needs to be pasteurized to remove harmful bacteria.
Other foods need processing to make them suitable for use, such as pressing seeds to make oil.
Foods to watch-out for
Bacon contains high levels of sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure. Bacon has a lot of fat. The amount of saturated fat in bacon explains why one ounce of bacon contains 30 milligrams of cholesterol. Research has shown that eating foods with high levels of saturated fat can lead to a higher risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
Cereal bars are stuffed with hearty grains and packaged in boxes featuring mountains and sunrises. Well too sad cereal bars are also loaded with added sugars, which digest quickly and don’t satisfy hunger for long. Despite their healthy marketing image, they rarely offer much in the way of good nutrition.
Noodles is one of the regular diet among youths and children, it is loved by many as it is quickly prepared within minutes and time saving. Well there’s bad news.
A packet of noodles contains nearly 2,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium, that boosts blood pressure, which could lead to stroke. With simple carbohydrates making up most of the other ingredients, Instant noodles contain saturated fats which if consumed excessively or regularly can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood. Having high cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease as well as type 2 diabetes.
They have a good amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A small portion contains about 84 calories, almost exclusively from sugar. Because dried fruit is sweet and energy-dense, it is easy to eat large amounts at a time, which can result in excess sugar and calorie intake, increasing your risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Aren’t a bad choice themselves, but you’re likely to eat more than the recommended size because of their super sweet taste. Flavored nuts are packed with extra salt and sugar. Making eaters susceptible to teeth problems, weight gain, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Many consider margarine an alternative to butter, margarine contains a lot of trans fats, which is considered unhealthier than any other fat, including saturated fats. Trans fats increase bad cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.
There’s nothing wrong with popcorn as long as you go easy on the salt and butter and there’s nothing wrong with microwaving food. So, what’s so bad about microwave popcorn?
It’s in the bag. Perfluoroalkyls are just one class of chemical found in microwave popcorn bags. Studies have linked perfluoroalkyls with health problems as diverse as kidney disease and poor semen quality.
While a little dollop of ketchup is fine, the amounts we slather onto our burgers and fries is problematic.
The tomatoes in ketchup are so diluted by sugar and salt that they offer no natural value. With most of the calories in ketchup coming from sugar, you might as well sprinkle your fries with sugar.