We have commented many times about the prevalence of ‘processed foods’ and the damage they do to our bodies (and minds!) So I was intrigued when I recently saw a curious definition of the ‘processed food industry’ as “The transformation of livestock and agricultural products into products for intermediate or final consumption”.
It prompted me to look further...
Scope of the Processed Food Industry
I was staggered by the annual global price tag for this ‘transformation’ of approximately US$3.2 trillion. That excludes transportation costs and revenue from restaurants. Doesn’t it seem bizarre that so much money is used for ‘transforming’ healthy, unprocessed and natural products into consumables proven to be toxic long term?
Indeed, the food industry routinely uses 2,000 different food additives in their processed creations, with the total number of available additives estimated at nearly 8,000. These include synthetic vitamins, minerals, emulsifiers, buffers, artificial flavourings and colourings, and enormous amounts of salt and sugar.
The average American eats nearly 150 pounds of food additives each YEAR! This is broken down as follows:
- 130 pounds of sugar
- 10-15 pounds of salt
- 5-10 pounds of "enriched" i.e. synthetic vitamins, flavours, preservatives and coloured dyes
There's one huge problem here and it's this:
Processed Food Junkies
Many of us are ‘Processed food junkies’ yet our body is not designed to ingest 150 pounds of additives (excluding some synthetic vitamins which may be OK). Or even ONE pound. That’s because they are in essence poisonous chemicals which the body cannot metabolize.
They lead to an imbalanced inner ecosystem where beneficial microflora cannot survive. Like us, they thrive on foods that are made by nature not by man. So additives end up as acidic wastes accumulating in the blood, organs and tissues…making us toxic, sick and fat.
Why then does the processed food industry use all these chemicals and additives, knowing that they make people sick?
In a word: Profit. To protect and maximise this profit, the food industry has six rationalizations for justifying their actions.....
1. To improve shelf life
Originally, the idea was to get food to more people and prevent waste and spoilage. Early examples are vacuum packed canned vegetables and dried fruits. But now it seems that most processed foods are literally "embalmed" with chemicals. Great for the manufacturer's bottom line, but deadly to the consumer. Processed foods are made for long shelf-life, not long human life!
2. To make food more available
It's positive that food is available to most of those who need it. But how much do people really "need" a TV dinner, microwave meal, or cake mix with confetti coloured candies in it?
3. To increase nutritional value
This is a joke. Food manufacturers process out most or all of the naturally occurring nutrients in the real foods that their products start out with. Instead, they sprinkle in synthetic vitamins and label the product ‘enriched’ or “fortified with...’
However, manufacturers don't add back in everything that was lost. For example, vitamin B6, chromium and zinc are destroyed during the processing of whole grains and flours, but they are not added back into the final product.
Just like it is not a good thing to take various vitamins on their own in supplements, it is not a good thing to add them singly to foods. This is why we never use vitamins on their own. Even if they were, synthetic nutrients are not the same natural nutrients.
4. To improve the flavour of foods
Processed food companies rely heavily on sugar, salt and artificial flavours to make their mashed up, reformed concoctions tasty. Billions are spent in labs where chemical flavourings are developed that taste amazingly delicious.
But, as pointed out in the blog Food Addiction: Personal Choice or Biological Craving these sugary, salty or artificially flavoured products are also very addictive and cause over eating. You eat more and get sicker while big pharmaceuticals and the processed food industry gets richer.
5. To make foods easier to prepare
With hurried, stressed lives, convenience and speed in meal preparation has became all the rage. We may know that those 5 minute microwave dinners are nutritionally dead, but they are quick and tasty. What better at the end of a long tiring day?! Our laziness is of course to the advantage of processed food industry.
6. To improve food's appearance
Naturally, we prefer to eat food that looks attractive. But at what expense? The fact is most processed foods use toxic substances to maintain a food's colour or prevent discolouration. Remember the fiasco with Red No. 2 dye being linked to cancer? It's still legal in the US for orange growers to inject Red No. 2 into orange rinds to achieve a uniform orange colour. Chickens and salmon are also treated with yellow and pink dyes respectively to keep their skin "looking" healthy.
Processed foods seem like the answer to today’s busy lives. New fads and fancy advertisements make slick promises that keep us coming back for more. Indeed, with commercials yelling, "We're healthy!" and some medical doctors saying "What you eat doesn't matter," it's hard to know what to do.
Regardless of what rationalizations food manufacturers dream up to justify jeopardizing your health, one fact remains: If you want to be disease-free, have a normal body weight and live a long energetic life, please eat real unprocessed foods.
If you are interested in this subject and would like to review others opinions you may find the following site of interest.
They summarise the “concerted effort” by big pharmaceuticals and the processed food industry “To sicken and then treat humanity, while earning obscene profits”. Food for thought…