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December 25, 2021

Should I Cut Out ALL Processed Foods?

Posted In: Fitness & Wellness

If you’ve read my blogs, you know I encourage eating whole foods with as little processing as possible. That doesn’t mean you have to give up foods with any type of processing. You don’t have to cut out processed foods whose processing is washing, cutting and freezing or many of the can goods on the shelf where the only ingredient is water and the fruit or vegetable.

Some foods are processed so much, you don’t know what they were originally.

They contain a litany of ingredients that sound like they were created in a lab…and some were. Some foods require processing to be edible, such as soy products or beans. It’s all about the ingredients and the amount and kind of processing. Seriously, washing a fruit or vegetable qualifies as processing. Yogurt isn’t yogurt without processing. Look at the label and check for added sugar, salt and other ingredients. If you buy peanut butter, the label should have one ingredient, peanuts.

Frozen fruits and vegetables may even be healthier than fresh ones.

When you buy your fruits and veggies at a grocery store, if they weren’t grown in the area, they were picked early and transported quite a distance. No matter where they were grown, they may have been sitting on the shelf for quite a while. Frozen fruits and vegetables often have a processing facility very close to the fields or even right on the property. They’re allowed to ripen to freshness and immediately cleaned and frozen, sealing in most of the nutrients. Vegetables may be blanched, which can reduce the water soluble vitamins, but once frozen, nutritional levels remain stable.

Always check the labels.

Look for signs of lots of processing, such as food with refined grains or those with added sugar or salt. Refined grains have none of the nutrients, unless they’re added later artificially. Foods made with sprouted grain flour or whole grain flour are the best. Sour dough breads are better than white flour breads, too.

  • If you have canned veggies that contain extra salt, you can still use them. Green beans might be one option. Strain the beans and rinse them several times in clean water then cook and eat. The rinsing removes much of the salt.
  • While frozen and canned fruit can be quite healthy, make sure they don’t contain added sugar. They should be packed in their own juice if they’re canned or frozen without any additive.
  • If you still wonder what processed foods are unhealthy, think snack food, processed meats, white bread and most commercial baked goods. Always read the label, even if you think it’s healthy, to see if it has preservatives.
  • If you opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, check out the “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen” lists to see if you need to buy organic. The dirty dozen is the list of non-organic produce that show signs of chemical contamination and the clean 15 are the top 15 that don’t.

For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness NJ