They seem so convenient – packaged foods. After all they are easy to grab and go and eat, and even possibly, they are safer and healthier than fast foods, or so we think, and most times, they are certainly cheaper than fast food as they are mass produced. So, what makes eating packaged food a good or bad idea?
Here’s our 5 top reasons why you should reconsider your grocery cart the next time you put a few packaged foods in your cart.
- They often contain preservatives
If the food is packaged and, on the shelf, or the fridge, chances are that they contain preservative to keep them fresh or retain the colors. The question is, do you really want to ingest these extra chemicals if there is no need to? We’re not talking about dry packed foods like pasta and rice, which mostly don’t have preservatives or flash-frozen food which are mostly frozen immediately after production so that the need for preservatives is eliminated. We’re talking about the obvious – food that contains a ton of preservatives to keep fresh. This sort of packaged food might be great when you’re in a hurry, but why eat a freezer pizza with chemicals when you can get a freshly made one, or if you’re a good cook, make yours?
- They can be fattening
Yes, packaged food will often state the caloric content of the package and most of us are comfortable just reading how much total calories we’re eating and never reading past that to see what else is contained in the package. The result is that we end up eating food that contain bad trans fats that do more damage than good. Sometime, the manufacturers of these foods need to use ingredients that can be stable for a long time, even up to many years. If you’ve ever looked at packaged food, you can see some of them having more than one year of stability. Then stop to question yourself how a food that is packaged and is good for that many years can be good for your body. The human body thrives on fresh food. We are not totally ruling out eating packed foods but we are saying it shouldn’t be your go-to food group.
- Low in Fiber
One thing that is often common across the board for most packaged food is the low fiber content that most of them have. These food are often high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. Fiber is one thing our body needs to help us lose weight, be healthy, and slow down the process of digesting carbohydrates so we stay fuller for a longer time. Most naturally occurring foods have natural fiber and during the process of manufacturing, some if not most of these fibers are lost thus eliminating the natural benefits of fibers, we would have gotten from the food otherwise. If you have to eat processed and packaged food, please read the labels to note the fiber content and if it’s low, try to supplement your diet with other foods rich in fiber like green leafy veggies, fruits, chia sea, split pea, lentil and so many others. With an addition of extra fiber in your diet, you can mitigate the loss of fiber from the packaged foods.
- Contain High Fructose Corn Syrup
Every child has been raised to know that high corn fructose syrup is bad for you and bad for our health but a good number of foods and especially packaged food end up with high corn fructose syrup which is generally bad for your health overall. They are also high on regular sugar which is calories that don’t do much for us except make us fatter and sicker. Eating food high in sugar or high fructose corn syrup, both of which are not good for our body, can disrupt how your body processes insulin and how insulin works in your body. In a normal functioning body, insulin helps regulate sugar which regulates our metabolism and so much more. When you feed the body with dangerous and unhealthy food items that affect insulin production and usage, you put your body at high risk of certain diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even obesity. Cancer has also been linked to foods like high fructose corn syrup. So, if you do nothing else, please read labels of packaged food and stay away, when possible, from foods with high fructose corn syrup.
- Low or No Nutritional Value
Most packaged food do not have much nutritional value as nutrients, minerals, and vitamins are sometimes stripped during the processes of manufacturing and refining these products to increase their shelf life and stability. Sometimes, the manufacturers inject synthetic nutrients, minerals, and vitamins into the foods so they can list them on the package. You see it list on the package and don’t think much about where they derived those nutrients from. Naturally occurring nutrients are not the same as artificially manufactured ones and sometimes, these end up making us sick or causing allergic reactions. And sadly, the more processed food that grace your dining table, the less natural nutrients and vitamins you get so that you end up setting up yourself for vitamin and mineral deficiencies which could lead to diseases and illnesses.