The term “food” has changed significantly in the last few years! Earlier the focus was on consuming more of fresh food items, but now it’s more about processed foods.
Processed foods have hidden ingredients that make food more appealing to our taste buds. The three main ingredients: fat, sugar, and salt, are known to excite our taste buds and make us want more. Also for people under time constraint, cheap and quick meals are always appealing.
The fresh food items are better but knowing what you are buying is the key. Items like canned fruits and vegetable juice are counted as fruit and vegetable servings but they aren’t actually “fresh”. It’s time to take a step back and redefine this term. It’s time to check what we are actually eating.
Many manufacturers do not highlight the hidden ingredients like, added sugar, additives, sodium, flavouring, colouring, etc. For example, brown colour breads may mislead consumer that they are buying whole wheat, when in fact the product is not.
So, what’s the difference between fresh and processed foods? Fresh foods are not frozen or preserved in any way.
They are sourced locally and are able to retain their nutritional value. On the other hand, foods high in sodium, additives, poor quality ingredient are not fresh and do not retain their nutritional value.
Processed food lacks healthy nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They contain more additives and preservatives. Apart from that, high-calorie processed food contributes to overeating and weight gain.
In contrast to that, fresh food contains more vitamins and minerals than processed food. They are rich in phytochemicals that have protective or disease preventing properties. They also contain more fibre and healthy fats. Fresh food helps in digestion, better nutrient absorption, better blood sugar monitoring and better control on blood pressure.
Processed foods may tempt you for a while but it’s important to kill such cravings if you want to live a healthy life. The mantra is simple-”Eat today for tomorrow.” Choose nutrients over refined sugar and make a regime which includes good eating habits and exercise.