It’s no big secret that most people lead busy lives. They seldom have the time to create meals from scratch using raw ingredients. As a result, many food companies have introduced convenience foods. Examples include microwave rice, easy-cook pasta and pre-cooked meats.
For the most part, people eat these time-saving meal ideas and not have any issues. But, more “fast food” eaters are starting to worry about what they are actually eating. Still, are people just making a fuss about nothing? After all, food companies must comply with the law when producing packaged foods, right?
Well, it turns out that not all food producers operate within the law. Over the years, there have been many scandals involving the ingredients used in packaged foods. Consumers are becoming more aware that they should question ingredients of foods they eat. Here are some of the reasons why processed foods aren’t as great as we first thought:
Too much sugar
I guarantee that you won’t find a single person on the planet that hates eating anything with sugar in it. We all love sugar! The trouble is, sugar is one of those ingredients that is both nice and “naughty” at the same time.
You might not think it, but too many of today’s processed foods contain a lot of sugar. Why is that a bad thing, I hear you ask? Well, excess sugar consumption gets linked to all kinds of medical conditions. Examples include insulin resistance, heart disease, obesity, and cancer.
Food manufacturers often use copious amounts of sugar to make food taste nicer. The truth is, they can do that using other ingredients that aren’t so bad for us. They just choose to use sugar because it’s cheap and we love it.
Not enough nutrients
Our bodies need all kinds of nutrients so that they can function well. It’s a well-known fact and one that vegetarians also love to boast about! But, even vegetarian convenience foods sometimes don’t have the right amount of nutrients.
Instead, food makers add all kinds of weird and wonderful chemicals to the things we eat. Have you ever noticed that some processed foods make you feel lethargic? Perhaps they don’t “lift you up” like say chocolates do?
Plants and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients that our bodies must have. The good news is that the food industry is starting to wise up to the fact we don’t want to eat bad things anymore.
More new food manufacturers are getting established to help us lead healthier lifestyles. For instance, have you read the Fortune article on how Hampton Creek makes big moves beyond mayo?
People can now enjoy healthier favorites like chocolate chip cookie dough and ranch dressing. In case you wondered, they use plant-based ingredients instead of chemicals. And, of course, those ingredients are rich with nutrients.
They aren’t the only food manufacturer that has taken such a stance, of course. But, it’s a real sign that the industry knows there is a problem and must take steps to sort it out.
They make us want more
When you eat processed food, one thing usually happens. You still feel hungry and want to eat a second or even third portion of food! The ingredients in processed foods often create chemical imbalances in our bodies.
As a result, we end up craving more food even though we have technically eaten enough. If someone has a diet of mostly processed food, they will soon gain weight and become obese.
When that happens, a myriad of health problems will ensue. For instance, there is a higher risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. In short, carrying on with such a diet could result in an early grave.
Many ingredients are artificial
Even just a hundred years ago, our diets did not consist of a plethora of artificial ingredients. We only ate meals that only contained fruit, vegetables and meat. So, why are today’s foods stuffed with artificial ingredients?
The answer is simple. Artificial ingredients are cheaper to use than actual food-based ingredients! As a result, manufacturers can sell convenience products at lower prices. Especially when marketing to those seeking budget or value foods.
Examples of artificial ingredients include colorings, preservatives, and flavors. Food manufacturers will often tell you that artificial ingredients are safe for human consumption. But, there are stacks of research to suggest otherwise.
More of us are getting clued up on those artificial ingredients and what they do to our bodies. Take energy drinks, for example. Excessive consumption of some products can lead to liver and heart problems. Yet, those drinks make no mention of how artificial ingredients could be bad for us.
We are all worried about developing an addiction to food
People can get addicted to all kinds of things in life. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, video games, you name it! Food is also another addiction that affects thousands of us each year. It’s a real problem that can often go out of control.
What’s sad about food addiction is that it can often go unnoticed. We might tell ourselves that we are “comfort eating” for example. Some ingredients that we may not notice in the foods that we eat can cause us to crave them all the time.
I’ve talked about how they can “make us want more” a couple of sections ago. But, as with all addictions, you can’t just give up certain foods and never eat them again. It can often be a slow and gradual process to wean ourselves off certain processed foods.
People seldom understand how serious a food addiction can be unless they experience it. More of us now actively look at ingredients in our foods to avoid the ones that are addictive.
Too much salt
One final point to note about processed food ingredients is salt. It’s the one ingredient that we all know about. We even sprinkle some of it on our meals each day from a shaker!
Salt is a very bad ingredient that you’ll find a lot of in processed foods. It can raise your blood pressure and cause heart attacks for a start. And you could even develop stomach cancer from too much salt intake.
So, as you can see, more of us are scrutinizing the ingredients in the foods we eat. Especially processed food products. Will the food industry will stop feeding us bad ingredients in the future? The answer is uncertain so far.