We recently came across some new research on processed foods.
What does processed foods even mean?
The term “processed foods” includes a huge variety of products, but the level of processing can vary immensely.
A food has been processed when its original state has been manually altered.
This could mean anything, from freezing to steaming, canning or a series of more manipulations on one product.
The foods we want to focus on are the ones that fall into this last category as this is where 50% of our calories come from, on average.
These foods include soft drinks, fries, chicken nuggets, ready soups and lots more. These are foods that have gone through lots of processes, and have more added ingredients, colourants and other substances used to increase their shelf life.
That piece of research seems to establish a link between high consumption of these overly manipulated foods and cancer (in particular, brain and ovarian).
Our goal here is not to scare you, but to bring you awareness.
We are not completely against processed foods as we do firmly believe they can be part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. We preach the 80/20 rule – this rule applies to all aspects of life, but in regards to nutrition it means that 80% of your diet should be made up of wholesome, unprocessed foods leaving 20% to more palatable and “fun” foods.
We also rely on some lightly processed foods quite regularly as they are extremely convenient and are not detrimental to our health. Frozen fruit and vegetables, canned beans, pulses, tuna and cheese.
However, we want to challenge you to be more aware of where your meals come from and why.
Ultra-processed foods can be really tempting for two main reasons: they generally taste great and are very cheap (not to mention the time they can save).
They taste so good since they normally contain more sugar, salt and fats than what you’d use at home, making them more palatable. This also explains why we tend to consume more calories from these foods: since they taste so great, it’s easier to overeat them. And given the extra added ingredients, they tend to be more calorie-dense (more calories per same portion size) than a homemade alternative.
Given the cost of living crisis, we also understand why their prices can be so appealing. It’s cheaper to buy a ready-made ragu than buy the individual ingredients and make your own.
But the question we want to you to ask yourself when reaching out for these commodities regularly is this:
We hope that the answer will be “no” most of the time and that you’ll put that food back.
But here are some practical tips to help you lean towards making your own food more often:
Does your diet need some improvement?