Food comes in a variety of forms, from natural to ultra-processed. Fresh produce from nutrient-rich soil tops the list of natural, raw foods that support good health. As food variety goes from whole, plant-based fruits and vegetables to other forms, processing comes into play.
Baking, cooking and preparing foods are types of processing, so the p-word isn’t automatically a no-no. Some form of processing is nearly impossible to avoid for most people.
For centuries, food has been canned, smoked, dried, frozen, etc. depending on factors such as accessibility, climate, portability and refrigeration. For example, people who live in geographies that are snowbound in winter may have to rely on processed foods to a certain extent. And they are still getting nutrition.
The art of canning food goes all the way back to 1795 and Napoleon Bonaparte, who offered a cash prize of 12,000 francs (around 1,800 USD) to anyone who could come up with a way to preserve food so that he could feed his military personnel. It took around 15 years before Nicolas François Appert won the money with a method for canning food: heating, boiling and sealing food in airtight glass jars. The basics of this process are used to this very day. Preserving food in tin cans would soon follow, giving a name to this form of food processing.
The nutritional problem with processed food is when it descends into ultra-processed territory. The 20th century introduced packaged and fast food on a grand scale over decades of development. The 1950s blossomed with “convenient” food and snack products that took a lot of the nutrition out in the process.
The addition of salt, sugar, preservatives and artificial colors and flavors to create “foods” and “beverages” has been an incredibly unhealthy, game changer. In recent years, over 50 percent of caloric intake in the USA and Canada comes from ultra-processed foods.
The popularity of “fast food” could be rebranded as fat food given the global rise in overweight and obese individuals. Cultures whose fast food used to be quickly cooked whole foods have seen dramatic increases in cases of type 2 diabetes, following the introduction of packaged food products and North American, fast-food non-nutrition. These dietary changes have contributed to the increase in weight issues, which, in turn, are a major factor in the onset of diabetes.
There’s no turning back the clock on the onslaught of ultra-processed foods that are globally marketed as desirable lifestyle choices. The only thing that anyone can do is not to buy into ultra-processed propaganda and, instead, focus on eating foods that are as natural as possible.
Forty years ago, The AIM Companies™ took an incredibly nutritious but inedible grass and found a process that made it food fit for human consumption. The methodology used to create the juice powder of young barley leaves has greatly improved over the years, making AIM BarleyLife a consistently super source of supplemental, plant-based food. It’s ultra-nutritious!