There’s a lot of debate in the media about processed food being the new tobacco. It’s cheap, engineered to death, and absolutely unhealthy- is the prevalent thought among health experts. But does it deserve the bad rap dished its way? Yes, a diet that includes only chips, crackers, and soft drinks will ensure that you meet your Maker sooner than planned, but without the packaged food industry many of us wouldn’t be meeting our dietary requirement. All food is processed- some minimally and some highly processed. They’re done so as to add value to the product; either by increasing its shelf life or by adding nutrients. For example, milk is pasteurized to kill pathogens, salt is fortified with iodine to prevent goiter, and cereals are fortified with folic acid and other supplements to prevent nutrient deficiencies.
In fact, fortified foods can be of immense help to the baby boomers who’re ideally looking smaller serving sizes and yet eat a nutrient-rich diet. Food processing companies are now adapting to new technology faster than ever. For one, consumers value freshness and food safety when buying packaged food and beverages. There are specialized food processing jobs where food scientists study the nutritional value of food, identify ways to make them healthy, and identify new sources of food.
The next time you choose a can of spaghetti sauce, get rid of the guilt. The cooked tomato in your sauce has more nutritional value than you think.
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