Processed Foods – What changes are made to the foods we eat?
Modern diets consist of over-processed foods and lifeless foods. We are eating devitalized foods that are not fresh, with fewer nutrients.
It is estimated that 70% of the “normal” diet have no nutritional value. These foods produce little enzyme activity and contain little or no fibrous material.
All the natural fiber, have been removed in the refining stages. This diet is, thus, poor in fiber, digestion is slow and the waste materials stay in the body longer. This sets up the perfect condition for toxic materials to form. Also, processed foods can contain huge amounts of chemicals and toxins which were added in the processing.
We are eating lots of chemicals like coloring agents, artificial flavors and preservatives that can make the food appear more attractive and taste fresher.
Even non-processed foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, whole grains and meats often contain chemical residues from pesticides, herbicides, hormones and other products used to make them grow. All of these substances reduce the amount of Vitamin E available for biochemical and physiological processes.
Normally, foods contain all the co-factors to enable the body to function optimally. Processed foods do not.
Why is the food processed?
Preservatives are used to increase the life of foods by controlling the growth of undesirable molds, yeast, and bacteria in food which might otherwise cause spoilage and subsequently illnesses. Most food is processed and packed to stop it going bad. Most food contains microbes which are harmless little creatures in small amounts. But, they can multiply rapidly if environmental conditions are right. They eat the food by breaking it down, which causes it to taste and smell bad. The microbes are dangerous in large quantities because their waste products are poisonous. Preserving either kills or slows the growth of these microbes. Here are some methods of preserving:
Drying is an ancient way of preserving foods. Dried food is hard on the outside so microbes find it hard to penetrate. Drying, however, destroys most of the vitamins, but can lead to a higher taste concentration.
Salting, Pickling & Smoking
These are also the traditional ways used all over the world to preserve food. Meat is covered in salt then hung to dry. This is called curing. The salt draws a lot of the moisture out of the meat and also protects against microbes.
Sugar is used to preserve fruits. Thus, we have jam and sweet pickles. The sugar stops the microbes left after the preserve is boiled.
Vinegar is used to pickle vegetables. The vinegar retards microbe growth because it is so acidic and stops exposure to oxygen, which the microbes need to survive.
Smoking involves hanging meat over wood fires and allowing the hot smoke to cure the meat. This also gives it a distinctive flavor. Most of the “smoked” products on the market today, however, have actually just had the “smokey” flavors added to them. (check you labels)
Various methods of food preservation, such as drying, smoking, pickling, curing and sugaring have been used over the years to preserve food and prevent wastage. More recently, these procedures have been replaced by other methods of preservation such as pasteurization, sterilization, irradiation, freezing, canning and the use of other chemical preservatives.
Microbes multiply in warm environments. Freezing renders most of the microbes inactive. Refrigeration slows the growth of some microbes. Before food is frozen, it is plunged into boiling water to kill off as many microbes as possible so the food can keep longer.
Canning is a common way to preserve food. First it is heated through to destroy any microbes. Then it is sealed in air tight cans usually lined with tin. Although some foods lose their nutrients, heating activates some (especially tinned tomatoes).
Never leave unused foods in cans as they can become contaminated with metals as food/metal oxides combine. This is not a problem when you put the remaining contents into an air tight, non-metal container.
You should never buy dented cans because bacteria might be able to get in. And don’t buy bulging cans because microbes have already gotten in.
This is a highly controversial method of preserving foods. We have an article on this Irradiation.
This is the process of heating a liquid, particularly milk, in order to destroy harmful bacteria supposedly without changing the composition, flavor, or nutritive value of the liquid. French chemist Louis Pasteur devised this process in 1865.
The time and temperature required for the sterilization of foods are influenced by several factors, including the type of microorganisms found on the food, the size of the container, the acidity or pH of the food, and the method of heating.
The Problems with Modern Processed Foods
Today, vegetables taste bland because of the lack of minerals in the soil. Then a lot of chemicals are added to make it taste good. Chemicals are also added to preserve it.
Why are they salty? Because salt (sodium chloride) helps prevent spoiling by drawing moisture out of food so bacteria can’t grow. Salt also kills existing bacteria that might cause spoiling. At one time, salting was one of the only methods available
Additionally, the food that has been processed contains a lack of enzymes. Every metabolic function in our body and every chemical reaction that keeps us healthy are helped by enzymes. An enzyme is a catalyst, which makes something work more efficiently. The oil in your automobile engine is a catalyst. Although your engine runs on gasoline, how efficient would it run without oil? This is an example of a catalyst which helps reactions take place more efficiently.
Without enzymes there is no life. Enzymes run the body. Every day your body burns enzymes to run our organs like the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, as well as the trillions of individual cells that carry on life. Those enzymes need to be replaced as the body uses them up.
Your body re-supplies enzymes by manufacturing them or by receiving them from an outside source. They come from raw foods – vegetables, fruits, and even meat. They can be converted for bodily needs.
When there aren’t enough enzymes available on a daily basis, your body begins to cut back from various bodily functions. For instance, hair may become dry, nails may crack and skin may become dry – giving the appearance of an older person. Then more critical, the liver will not be able to handle the excretion of waste products.
Fifty percent of all enzymes burned by the body are used in digesting our food. When insufficient enzymes are available for the digestion process the body steals them from other organs. Evidence, the high number of indigestion aids sold and the fact that you get sleepy after a meal. The body is stealing energy (enzymes) from other bodily functions. Without these enzymes, due to the lack of them in the food we eat, the average person only digests about 30 to 70% of what they eat.
Processed foods and most all packaged foods do not contain live enzymes. When any food is heated over 112 degrees Fahrenheit, the live enzyme activity is destroyed.
The bottom line is that when we put foods that are void of adequate nutrition and void of any enzymes into our body, we eventually run down.
The destruction of live enzymes does not permit our food to be thoroughly digested. Then our immune system becomes weakened, and we develop degenerative diseases.
Many scientific studies have been conducted on how this affects our health. In the 1940, a medical doctor named Dr Pottenger wanted to know how processed foods affected our health. He financed his own research, so he wasn’t influenced by any big business interests to come up with certain results. Dr. Pottenger studied 900 cats over a period of several generations.
Dr. Pottenger divided his cats into 5 groups. The first two groups he fed raw food and they remained healthy throughout the experiment. The remaining three groups were fed processed foods. The first generation of these cats developed degenerative health conditions (arthritis, allergies, diabetes, etc.) near the end of their life. The second generation cats developed the same health conditions during the middle of their life span. The third generation of cats developed the same health conditions very early in life.
The same is seen today in humans. Children are being born with chronic degenerative diseases or are developing them much earlier in life. This is a relatively new phenomenon, but nevertheless the trend in humans is following Dr. Pottenger’s experiments very closely. In addition, Pottenger found his third generation cats could not conceive or if they did they aborted. Right now, in America, 25% of young adults are sterile and they cannot conceive and miscarriages are on the rise. Have you noticed a rise in Fertility Clinics?
In Today’s Health, a magazine published by the American Medical Association, an article appeared which indicated that many researchers are convinced that virtually all disease can be traced to missing or faulty enzymes.
So, why are processed foods not good?
There are forty nutrients that cannot be made in the body. They are essential fatty acid, 15 vitamins, 14 minerals, and 10 amino acids. Collectively these forty nutrients are spoken of as the body’s requirements. From these our bodies synthesized an estimated 10,000 different compounds essential to the maintenance of health. All the forty nutrients work together. Therefore, the lack of any one might result in the underproduction of hundreds of these essential compounds.
Processed foods contain refined sugar, extra salt, and other flavor enhancers.
Processed foods contains unhealthy fats.
Unhealthy chemical additives are added to foods so that they stay fresh longer. Chemicals such as MSG are added
Processed foods can increase your body’s level of homocysteine. (By the way, Omega 3 essential fatty acids have also been shown to reduce the levels of homocysteine.)
Many processed foods are filled with strange parts and pieces. For example hot dogs contain “edible offal”???
Processing takes a lot of nutrients out of the nutrient rich foods.
Processed foods are fortified with synthetics. Most of the pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, choline, inositol, vitamins B6 and E are discarded in the milling of breads and the refining of flour for cereals. To make up for the loss of nutrients during processing, synthetic vitamins and minerals are added. These synthetics are not as healthy as their natural counterparts. The amounts of vitamins returned in “enriched” flour are far less than the quantity that naturally occurs.
Much of the goodness is cooked or processed out of our foods. We do not benefit from the enzymes and nutrients the foods normally contain. The missing nutrients which allow illnesses to develop have been discarded in processing and refining foods. Research shows that disease produced by combinations of deficiencies can be corrected when all nutrients are supplied.
What can we do?
Since our normal food supply sources do not contain enough vitamins minerals or enzymes for the body to get the complete nutritional intake necessary to maintain health. We must supply them with supplemental nutrition. Remember that 50% of the body’s enzymes are used for digestion.
The best thing to do is eat a diet rich in nutrient dense foods.
What vitamins do you need
To help with our fast food lifestyle eating processed foods. We need whole food vitamins that will supply those things that eating processed foods do not supply, or sometimes destroy.
More information on Enzymes
Electrolytes – restoring minerals (potassium, magnesium, etc). Read about Electrolytes
If you feel you must eat some processed foods make sure you get a daily vitamin formula that will supply your nutritional needs. Make sure it is a whole food supplement that your body uses. We recommend Standard Process Catalyn
Essential Fatty Acids – Omega 3 fatty acids isn’t something available in processed foods – so supplement with this. Make sure the Fish Oil is high in EPA & DHA and comes from deep water fish where there are no pollutants. We Recommend Dr. Berg’s Cod Liver Oil – you can read why
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