Food is one of the life’s main entertainment sources but excessive eating of highly processed food is bad. People usually overeat when they are extremely sad or extremely happy. That is ok to do so but eating unhealthy food on a regular basis is harmful to overall health.
The world is going towards automation for decades which makes life hassle-free by saving time and effort. Processed and packed food is also a concept that is innovative in itself which makes having food convenient.
Processing food is nothing new. Grinding the grain to make flour is also an example of processing. The processing which doesn’t reduce the nutritional value of food is called minimal processing.
Then there is the second level of processed food which doesn’t reduce nutritional content and maintains the food healthy not completely but to some extent. For example, bread clarified butter and paneer, etc.
Highly processed food is typically high in sugar, salt, trans fat, and refined flour. These are prepared by using flavoring agents which make food tasty, artificial colors that make food good in looks, and preservatives that extend the shelf life of food.
This kind of food is usually ready-to-eat or very easy to cook. It eventually leads to overeating due to convenient eating and high glucose.
These kinds of foods have been part of our life and youngsters especially are more likely to consume highly processed food.
1 out of every 4 people is obese now in India. And the reason is food. An unhealthy diet is making people obese.
Processed food has such ingredients which are not usually found in household kitchens. Few ingredients are mentioned on the packaging in such a way that a common person can not get what is inside the packet.
Few companies market their product as a healthy one, but they also have high levels of sugar and other unhealthy stuff like bournvita, chyawanprash, and real fruit drinks.
In India, Bollywood celebrities are considered ideal for most of the population. Ad companies are very much aware of it and they cast celebrities in the marketing of these food items including Salman Khan Pepsi ad, Hrithik Roshan mountain dew, and Alia Bhatt promoting Coronado ice cream and Coca-cola drink. These celebrities don’t consume unhealthy food on their own but for money, they are ready to influence others to have such highly processed food.
To eat processed food once in a while is not a problem but to have a good amount of such products on a daily basis leads to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other deadly diseases.
The consumers of highly processed food are all over the world. But the products would be different as per the region and few are common too like potato chips.
Here are a few food categories which are overtaking the Indian market of highly processed food:
- Potato chips
Potato chips is a food that causes the most fat retention in the body in comparison to other food so it is considered one of the most unhealthy snacks. Potato chips are deep-fried thin potato slices with seasoning all over the chips. In a packet of 100 grams of chips, there are calories between 550-600. It is full of sodium due to the high level of salt in the seasoning which causes high blood pressure and water retention in the body.
It is a very famous snack in India and people love to have it while watching tv or traveling. It must be replaced with popcorn or roasted grams or anything else which is way healthier and less processed than potato chips.
- Packaged Juices
Companies claim that packed fruit juices are made of fruits. But sadly, there is a complete abscess of fruits in packed fruit juices. No doubt, the taste would be similar to some extent but that is due to the excessive use of flavoring agents in making these kinds of juices. There is no nutritional value so please replace them with original fruit. It is much better to eat an orange than to have a packet of orange juice. There is a very high content of sugar and coloring agents. There is a brand in India of real fruit juice which claim that juices of there are made of 100% fruit but this is completely wrong.
These are usually consumed with tea and people of every age have biscuits. Biscuits of many flavors and textures are available in the Indian market. These are made of artificial sweeteners, refined flour and hydrogenated oil and flavoring and coloring agents, and much more. Biscuits just add empty calories with no nutritional value and dietary fiber. People must avoid it and replace it with other homemade snacks.
It is an Indian savory snack full of spices. See, this is not much unhealthy if prepared at home but packed namkeen contains hydrogenated oil, trans fat, artificial colors, and flavors. It is not hazardous if you eat in fewer amounts sometimes. But it may cause many diseases if it is eaten unregulated and on a daily basis.
- Ready-to-eat food
There are many kinds of premix and ready-to-eat frozen food that can be prepared in just a few minutes by following simple steps. The dehydrated vegetables in it have no nutrient value. Preservation and chemical formula are used to make it consumable for a long time which can affect the kidney and liver badly. So make sure to have fresh food. It would take effort and time but fresh cooked food can save your body from these chemicals.
Noodles with seasoning are available in packed form which can be cooked in 4-5 minutes. It is too convenient to cook and eat, which makes it the first choice for people who don’t want to spend much time cooking. Noodles are made of refined flour and these can interrupt the digestive system to work properly. There is long-term harm to having packed noodles. It’s a business in China but they usually make their noodles at home. In India, to make noodles long-lasting, they are deep-fried in hydrogenated oil. Overall it is very harmful to the body to have noodles regularly due to the high content of flavoring agents, trans fat, and refined flour.
There are many healthier versions of these highly processed food items which are being introduced in the market like banana chips would completely replace potato chips. People must try to have minimal processed and freshly cooked food. That kind of food has better content of dietary fiber and nutritions like beans, nuts, eggs, and vegetables.