Processed food is exactly as the name implies; Food that has underwent a type of Processing.
Food processing exists for one purpose – to increase the shelf life of Real Food.
Processed Food is unlike Real Food, as it had been handled by a third party before its consumption. Real Food you get directly off of the tree or bush, while processed food had been under the influence of human treatment prior to arriving in one’s hands.
There are many types of processing done to vegetables or fruits, depending on what is being extracted and concentrated or the removal of pests and microbes.
The most common processing done today is done to grains, which involves the removal of the bran and embryo to prolong the shelf life of the starchy and glutinous storage capsule. Another example is the pasteurization of milk and plant juices in order to prevent fermentation or contamination.
By the time grains, milk, or plants reach one’s plate, they could develop molds or decrease in nutritional value. For that same reason, the industrial mindset prompted scientists to develop methods to prolong the food’s shelf-life.
The problem with processing food is that the composition of the food gets disturbed. Nature made plant leaf, vegetable, or fruit come complete – with the proper mineral and water balance, and an active environment of molecular machinery. Subjecting the atomic energy-bonds in food to heat, chemicals, or pressures affects that food. We all know how heat can cause the deterioration of the fibrous infrastructure of plants and the spillage of its watery contents. But that is a processing one can do directly to a vegetable on their own, unlike the commercial-size processing inflicted on the food staples of human civilization practiced today.
Some food undergoes a single type of processing, while others can be subjected to several treatments until the product meets industry standards for customer consumption. The processing can go so far as to subject the food to long periods of refrigeration, contact with metals that assist in the extraction of certain elements, dehydration, pasteurization, homogenization etc. Milk is one food that undergoes both pasteurization and homogenization to meet commercial standards.
What typically happens following the processing is an artificial addition of the contents that were removed or destroyed. This is considered supplementation. An example is the addition of vitamin B5 to Milk, as well as Vitamin D. Vitamin B5 is added because it is sensitive to light and heat, and tends to degrade through the processing of milk. Vitamin D is added because it is scientifically established that the majority of consumers are deficient in it and require Vitamin D for proper calcium absorption.
Basically, the missing nutrients are considered the Cofactors, responsible for assisting in the trafficking of water, wastes and building-blocks. When the bran of the seed is exposed to oxygen during the process of milling it, the sensitive bran begins to deteriorate. This deterioration is gradual, but quick enough that our primitive ancestors would only prepare and consume their bread the day it was ground up into flour. According to Weston A. Price, about ⅘ of the minerals are lost to oxidation (reported in his book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”).
What occurs during the conventional processing of food, is that essential vitamins and other molecular machinery (namely enzymes) are denatured. This term means that the natural and active form of a sophisticated molecular machine is warped out of its original shape. Because enzymes have a high-specificity to substrates, its deformed shape prevents the enzyme from interacting with the substrate. Consequently the enzyme is rendered useless. The significance of this phenomenon is that vitamins will not perform their task.
The loss of the cofactors is a major problem, which has the potential of stressing the organism. The consumption of processed food promotes physical degeneration, which has been thoroughly investigated and reported by Weston A. Price way back in the late 1930s. Weston A. Price and many cultures would call this method of food preservation and quality The White Man’s Food.
To read a book review on Weston A. Price’ book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”, click HERE.
Processed food is a man-made product that doesn’t resemble the food’ original composition. In many cases, several types of processed foods are combined together to create breads, cookies, chocolate, sauces, soft drinks and more. Even your birthday cake is a mixture of processed foods and extracts, which produce the sweet delight that lights up your pleasure centers in your brain. Though, nothing compares to the fast food stores, whom source foods that have been heavily handled, sometimes mishandled, and cover up the real flavor of the food by adding copious amounts of sugar.
Sugar undergoes massive processing in order to refine it. Table Sugar is completely devoid of nutrient cofactors. Unlike raw sugar, which holds its original color, and within it all the antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins necessary for the glucose or fructose to be metabolized properly. Same thing with salt. Many natural salts, like Himalayan and grey Celtic Sea Salt, are filled with as many as 84 and 96 different mineral compounds, respectively. Table Salt is the result of heavy processing, wherein only 2 minerals are left (i.e. Sodium Chloride). Along with that, the industry adds Aluminum Silicate in order to make the refined salt porous (pour easily).
Basically, your entire meal could be either completely or partially made out of processed foods. You sourced it, and in the process you invested your dollar in it. However, now that you know somewhat on the extent of what mankind is doing to plants and their nourishing gifts, you can invest in cleaner, wholesome and cofactor-rich food.
The unfortunate thing is that the White Man’s Food is cheaper and more available and convenient for most people. Any way one looks at it, one can either invest in cheap, disease-promoting food, and pay a gradual price in their declining performance, as well as a high price in medical care, or one could invest in good quality food that is slightly more expensive, but one’s performance remains strong and one seldom visits a doctor.
Nutritional Wisdom advises one to be careful and mindful of the quality one introduces into their body on a daily basis. What one exposes their organs to today has an effect that may take a while to overcome. Choose raw sugar over refined sugar. Choose natural and sea salts over refined salts. Choose organic food over non-organic food. Each and everyone of us has an impact on the industry with our dollars. Choose healthy, invest wisely.
The choice is in your hands.