What Are Processed Foods?

I was watching a sci-fi film which was set in the future the other day, where people had their ‘food’ in tablet form. This is probably at the far end of the spectrum with real food at one end and processed food at the other.

Western ‘food’ is heading further and further along that spectrum – much to the detriment of peoples health. So what are processed foods?

What Are Processed Foods?

Strictly speaking a processed food is anything that has been altered from its natural form. The really obvious ones are ready meals, especially the ones you can chuck in the microwave.

Other common things include the vast majority of breakfast cereals, most snacks, processed meat (like bacon). Processed food tends to have a lot of sugar and salt added – to give flavour and preserve the ‘food’.

Even this sugar and salt is processed. Table salt is just sodium chloride. Natural sea salt is packed full of other minerals as well – all beneficial to health.

Skimmed milk is a poor substitute for normal milk. Just about all the fat soluble vitamins, like vitamin D, are lost when the fat is removed.

What’s the Problem With Processed Foods?

Generally they are really nutrient deficient. For example white flour has lost so much nutrition that you’re just left with calories, having lost the fibre, much of the protein and most of the vitamins and minerals.

Your body needs the smaller nutrients as much as it needs the calories. For example you need vitamin D to protect against cancer. If you eat a calorie high but nutritionally deficient diet – your body can’t protect itself against disease. At some point you’re going to get ill.

How to Make Changes

I’m helping one of my patients understand where he’s going wrong with his diet, because it’s having seriously bad effects on his health. If you want to know what are processed foods – just take a look at this:

  • Breakfast – bacon sandwich with brown sauce (made with white bread)
  • Lunch – ham sandwiches (white bread)
  • Dinner – meat and potato pie (shop bought) with chips (frozen), mushy peas (tinned)

This was a typical day for him. Just about everything he was eating was processed. Since his body is made up of what he eats, it’s no wonder it was falling apart. His diet had enough calories, but it wasn’t getting much other nutrition like vitamins and minerals, because they are stripped out of processed food.

After a few months of making gradual changes he brought in his diary again – this is one of the better days:

  • Breakfast – omelette (free range eggs, cheese, fresh vegetables)
  • Lunch – homemade soup (taken to work in a flask) with a spelt roll
  • Dinner – pork chops, baked potato with butter, peas (frozen)

This is a big improvement, because now he’s eating real food! He’s lost some weight. He’s got some more work to do but he’s made massive progress.

You can learn more about how to eat real food and heal your body from my book. Click here to get a copy.

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Have a fantastic week eating REAL food!

Dr Julie

2 thoughts on “What Are Processed Foods?”

    1. Dr. Julie Coffey

      Hi James
      Oak cakes are better than bread made out of conventional modern wheat. Oats haven’t had the massive manipulation modern wheat has, so is more true to it’s natural form.
      Although it’s better, it’s still a grain, so not something I would include in my daily diet.

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