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Old 10-02-2007, 08:06 AM   #1
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So what exactly are "processed foods"?

I keep hearing all the time that we need to minimize our consumption of processed foods in order to be more healthy. I've been trying to follow that suggestion closely by eating mostly whole foods, but it seems like processed foods are more prevalent than I had originally thought.

I mean, I know that foods like Rice-a-Roni, Betty Crocker Complete Meals, and most frozen dinners are processed, but what about stuff like commercial sliced bread? Or mayonaisse?

I guess I'm just wondering what defines something as a processed food. Can I assume that anything that is not 100% made from scratch in my kitchen is processed? Or is it more like "anything that contains ingredients that I can't pronouce"? Thanks for the help!

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Old 10-02-2007, 08:17 AM   #2
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I take the approach that if it's food that has had something done to it that I would normally do at home, it's processed. Processed foods really took off in the 50s with TV dinners leading the way.

Frozen pizza, cooked foods, pretty much anything made by Little Debbie, Hostess, etc.
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:25 AM   #3
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IMO and broadly speaking, If it is not a fresh fruit, meat or vegetable then it is processed in someway.
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Old 10-02-2007, 02:04 PM   #4
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I've actually been thinking about this since I first saw it. I ended up going to wikipedia.

Food processing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The scary part to me is...

Quote:
Extreme examples of food processing include the delicate preparation of deadly fugu fish, preparing space food for consumption under zero gravity, winemaking, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets.
Hot dogs and chicken nuggets classified with those other things.


When I think of processed foods though I do tend to think of the more extreme examples - such as hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fast food, american cheese etc. Yet in all reality processed can simply mean something as innocuous as preparing food for freezing.
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Old 10-02-2007, 02:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strawberry View Post
I've actually been thinking about this since I first saw it. I ended up going to wikipedia.

Food processing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The scary part to me is...



Hot dogs and chicken nuggets classified with those other things.


When I think of processed foods though I do tend to think of the more extreme examples - such as hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fast food, american cheese etc. Yet in all reality processed can simply mean something as innocuous as preparing food for freezing.
That is interesting...I'm surprised to see WINE listed there.
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Old 10-02-2007, 03:47 PM   #6
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I was surprised to see wine listed in the same sentence as chicken nuggets. But then the grape is nothing like it was off the vine once it comes out of the bottle... kinda like the chicken.
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Old 10-02-2007, 03:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
IMO and broadly speaking, If it is not a fresh fruit, meat or vegetable then it is processed in someway.
Ditto................
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Old 10-02-2007, 07:02 PM   #8
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You know, nasty stuff like Velveeta, Cheez Whiz, stuff from Jimmy Dean, Spam....oh wait, cross Spam off that list.
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:11 PM   #9
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Technically, ALL food is processed. Unless you picked it off the vine and ate it on the spot, then it is processed in some way. A steak was originally a cow, it was butchered and processed to become a steak (and other meats) for you. Rice was a growing thing, but it was picked, washed, etc, and bagged for you to cook. All foods are processed to some degree.

Now, semantics aside, processed these days means adding specific “additives” that prolong shelf life, color, freshness, etc. These are additives that do not occur naturally in the food in question, but instead are added to it (often from other natural food sources such as “citric acid”….oranges, tomatoes, etc.) to help “preserve them”.

In some cases, that preservative is simply salt (sodium)! In other cases, it has a name that is much harder to pronounce. All of which have been weighed and tested by the FDA as safe for human consumption.
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:50 AM   #10
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I go along with Keltin - just about everything is processed. The things not to eat too much of are those which have lots of chemicals included.

I looked at some beef stock cubes the other day - the ingriedients list did not include the word "beef".

Against that we have a farm shop nearby that sells cooked pies. They are processed foods but I trust them - there is not a lot of assed chemicals, the pies are jam packed with the filling and they taste really good.

So the advice is to read the label or go with a supplier you trust.
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