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Advantages and disadvantages of processed foods


Processed foods are those that have received some change prior to consumption. There are different types of processing according to the objective you want to achieve with them. Here we tell you.



Processing Examples of food
For easy distribution Washed and packaged fruits or vegetables, bagged salads, roasted nuts and ground coffee beans
To preserve food Canned tuna, canned beans, frozen fruits and vegetables, porridge and baby foods in jars
To improve security,

taste or visual appeal

Packaged foods such as potato, rice, cake flour, tomato sauce, spice mix, dressing, sauces and gelatin.
To facilitate its consumption Breakfast cereals, biscuits, jam, ice cream, yogurt, granola bars, biscuits, sausages, cheese spread, carbonated drinks, fruit drinks.
Food to save time Frozen meals, pizza


Advantages of processed foods

  • The preservation of food is very useful to preserve them for a long period of time. If these methods are not used, the food could not be available for a long time and most likely would have to be discarded.
  • The processing confers benefits to health, as is the case of pasteurization, since by heating foods at a certain temperature for a certain period, bacteria harmful to human health are eliminated.
  • There are products that have added vitamins or minerals that help cover the recommended daily intake (IDR).
  • In foods with minimal processes there is no affect to the nutritional content.
  • Durable

    One of the reasons why they are processed is precisely to increase their useful life and to preserve them better. Because of this there is no urgency to consume the food before a certain time, so it can be left for several days until you have an appetite. In addition, frozen, canned or similar food is necessary in cases of emergency such as earthquakes or floods, since its duration and storage make it quite practical.

    Ready for busy people.

    When you do not have time to cook or you just do not know how to do it, there is a great variety of packages that are sold with processed food that is already cut or that only needs to be heated. For this reason they are a good alternative when you have to be more efficient over time.

    Always available

    Thanks to the modifications that are applied, fruits or vegetables that normally would not grow in certain seasons can be obtained practically all the year. This is also possible because they can be better preserved and although they would be out of their natural cycle, they would still be in good condition.


    Apart from the chemicals used to encourage the decomposition of food, substances that protect food from bacteria are also added, they are reinforced with a larger variety of vitamins and even supplements are created for people who can not take certain things, as in case of vegetarians.

Disadvantages of processed food

  • Some food preservation processes require adding sugar, salt or fat to achieve better conservation. And this of course increases the content of sugar, salt and fat in the diet of individuals.
  • There are many processed foods that contain a high amount of calories from carbohydrates and fat, but little protein, vitamins and minerals.



Nutrients removed.

Although they can be reinforced, in the processes that occur sometimes more nutrients are lost than they are added. Because of this, although the same amount as the natural food is consumed, the proteins, vitamins or minerals acquired will be much smaller.

Salt and sugar.

These products are usually added certain amounts of salts and sugars to modify their flavor. For this reason, when they are eaten constantly and the values ??on the labels are very high, health problems such as the retention of liquids in the body or problems with glucose can be generated.


Many foods contain fats, so in this sense the processed foods are not very different, but the detail is in that they contain trans fats, which are the most harmful of their type and have a great influence on the increase of the levels of cholesterol.


As they have many modifications, in some cases it can be noticed that their flavor is not equal to the natural versions . Canned food is common in this case, because in exchange for having a longer preservation time, the flavor is reduced, changed or practically disappears.


It is known that processed foods contain many additives to fulfill a certain purpose, be it dyes to appear a certain flavor or preservatives so that it does not decompose so easily. The problem is that you can have side effects or some people may have allergic reactions to these chemicals if they are not carefully read their labels, to know exactly what they contain.

Effects of  processed food on the human body

However, like everything that the body acquires, processed foods have effects on your body and is here to  informs you of any of it.


1. Depression An investigation by the University of London revealed that people who consumed more processed foods were 58% more likely to develop depression. Experts suggest that this is due to the relationship that exists with these foods and the development of coronary heart diseaseand inflammation.


2. Sodium sulfite. This is a preservative used in processed foods. People who are sensitive to sulfite may experience headaches,breathing problems, and skin rashes


3. Cancer.  Through a study the University of Hawaii i revealed that people who consumed more processed meat had a 67% higher chance of getting pancreatic cancer .


4. Fat and Sugar. High in these two ingredients, these foods can contribute to weight gain. When the fatty acids are ingested they are incorporated into the cells , in turn a hormonal disorder is generated, a factor that generates weight gain.


5. Monosodium glutamate. It is used as a flavor enhancer. It is an excitotoxin, a substance that overexpresses cells to the point of damaging or killing them.


6. Reduction of intelligence. The University of Bristol conducted a survey in which found that children who had a diet rich in processed foods in their first years of life had a decrease in its coefficient in contrast to those who had a high intake of vegetables and fibers.


7. Conservatives. Butylhydroxyanisole and Butyl hydroxytoluene are preservatives that affect the neurological system of the brain,altering behavior.


8. Heart Processed foods contribute up to 75% of sodium in the diet, according to data from specialist Zeratsky Katherine , Mayo Clinic .


9. Stomach The juices by their non-absorbable carbohydrate content, promotes diarrhea or reflux.


10. Neurons Monosodium glutamate is an excitotoxin used to extract flavor in food. According to neurosurgeon specialist Russell Blaylock, excitotoxins can cause more sensitive neurons to die. Some people experience other side effects such as headaches, irritated skin, drowsiness, and respiratory, digestive, circulatory and coronary problems .


The processing techniques foods have been part of the innovation for the production, storage and distribution of food. So we can gain a lot with the advantages that it confers, but it is very important that our diet is not based exclusively on processed foods. It is necessary to promote a natural diet or minimal processing.  The current lifestyle conditions to select processed foods, so reviewing labels continuously will help us make better decisions to maintain good health.

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