Kirk’s #GoVeggies 31-Day Challenge, Day 26: What is Processed Food?

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The giant food companies like Nestle, General Mills and PepsiCo are obviously in business to make money. To do so, their products must be commoditized so they are easily storable and won’t spoil, which increases product value. Therefore, from a “food engineering” perspective, their products…

  1. Must be able to be mass-produced.
  2. Must be consistent batch to batch.
  3. Must be consistent country to country.
  4. Contains specialized ingredients from specialized companies (trade secrets).
  5. Virtually all macro-nutrients are frozen (therefore fiber must be removed).
  6. Must stay emulsified (water and fat don’t separate) and food product must not fall apart.
  7. Must have long shelf-life or freezer life for transportation purposes.

To meet those criteria, their food products are not hand-made, but machine-manufactured. Thousands of additives are at their fingertips to use for taste, color, odor, feel, enzymatic reactions and preservation, many of which do have to be put on a nutrition label, nor can they be bought commercially. Those additives are not strongly regulated by the FDA, therefore companies basically have a free reign regarding what they use. 

For instance, you can have food colorings and odors that are also used in paints, perfumes and detergents. That said, there is much controversy regarding the dangerous use of food additives, many of which are banned outside of the United States.

Classifying processed food as actual “food” is a major concern. It is rife with additives you’d never directly get from a farm or be able to create in the comfort of your own home. Therefore, eat little of what is mass produced.  Do your best to stay away from canned, bottled and packaged products. 

Fresh produce is the better way to go.

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