Processed foods are easy to spot. If it comes in a box or a bag and isn’t fresh produce, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. But that may not be an easy distinction to make.
Some products can look healthy on the outside while being surprisingly unhealthy inside. A rather traumatic example would be the Toxic Baby Formula issue. Here, newborns born before 37 weeks suffered from NEC, or Necrotizing Enterocolitis, after consuming the bovine-milk-based baby formula. NEC causes severe damage to the infant’s intestines and can have long-lasting effects on their health.
In many cases, hospitals administered the formula or gave them as gifts to the parents of the newborn. If you believe your child or the child of someone you know faced adverse health issues due to this baby formula containing cow milk, you can file a lawsuit. To know more details, like the list of eligible baby formulas and other criteria, we suggest you check reliable online resources on the Toxic Baby Formula Lawsuit.
Here are five examples of commonly consumed processed foods that may surprise you:
1. Packaged Potato Chips
You may think that potato chips are a healthy snack, but they’re very high in calories and contain trans fats. A single serving of potato chips contains approximately 600 milligrams of sodium, which is more than half the daily recommended amount.
During the pandemic, the consumption of chips went up. According to Statista’s latest data, 34.69 million Americans consumed 16 bags of potato chips or more in 2020. That’s a lot of chips per capita.
Potato chips are made from refined carbohydrates and often contain artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. These ingredients can cause your blood sugar to spike quickly. This will cause an energy crash that leads you to eat more processed foods throughout the day.
You can munch on pita bread or carrot sticks with a hummus dip to satisfy the sudden hunger pangs.
2. Sugary Cereals
Sugary cereals are high in calories, but they don’t offer much else when it comes to nutrition. In many cases, they’re even low in protein and contain more sodium than you need.
Sugary breakfast cereals may be a favorite across the USA, but the diabetes and prediabetes scenario in our country is a cause for serious concern. The CDC mentions that there are currently 37.3 million Americans suffering from diabetes in the National Diabetic Statistics Report. This is 11.3% of the total population. In addition, there are 96 million adults with prediabetes conditions too.
A healthier alternative would be oats porridge. Some cultures have a rice porridge dish like congee. You can try the same, as it would be satiating yet wholesome.
3. Canned Tuna
Canned tuna is a convenient source of protein, but it can be high in mercury because of the way it is processed. If you’re going to eat canned tuna, look for brands that are packed with water instead of oil and skip those with added salt or sugar.
Tuna and large ocean fish may contain mercury. In cases where the presence of mercury is more than permissible limits, it can have dire consequences as mercury is a known toxic metal. This concern has been reported by various agencies including the Environmental Defence Fund. Canned Salmon may be better.
To make your tuna or salmon salad without added ingredients or preservatives, mix one-part mayonnaise with two parts canned fish without skin. Add some celery and onion if you want to add some crunch.
4. Frozen Dinners
Frozen dinners are typically high in sodium and fat and often contain sugar, too. They also have long lists of ingredients, including artificial flavors and chemicals.
Try to have simple dinners like boiled pasta with a pesto dressing if you are unable to cook elaborate meals. You can get fresh bread, lettuce, and tomatoes from the store instead and make yourself a sandwich with some cheese.
You can quickly add more proteins to your meal by adding a boiled egg on the side. You can add some cooked tofu if you are vegan.
5. Store-Bought Granola
If you’re trying to lose weight, or eat healthier, avoid store-bought granola. These items are often high in sugar and calories, as well as artificial sweeteners that can cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
Many types of granola contain preservatives like sulfites that can contribute to inflammation in the digestive tract.
You may try muesli, which is uncooked. Muesli is usually soaked in yogurt or milk overnight to taste good in the morning. It can be eaten like cereal too.
The best way to avoid health issues is by reading the labels on your food and ensuring that what is there sounds good for your body. The only time processed food can be good for you is if you eat it because of an emergency or a special circumstance. Try to minimize how much of it is in your diet as much as possible.