The world needs processed food

The word “process” has become something of a slur.

Say “processed food” and most of us picture cheap, unhealthy stuff. Fresh food straight from the garden or field is fine. After we put it through a processing plant or lab, we stripped it of its outstanding qualities and added a bunch of bad ones. That means meat substitutes are no better than junk food.

But this view is short-sighted. We will not sustainably provide billions of people with a nutritious diet do not have food processing. The growing backlash to the processing is something that neither man nor planet can tolerate.

Benefits of processed foods

More processed foods than Coca-Cola, chocolate Milk Milk and ready meals. Most plant and animal products undergo some form of processing to turn them into something we can—and want—to eat. We grind grain into flour to make bread. We slaughter and butcher animals for meat. We pasteurize milk.

Processed foods have brought us countless benefits, many of which we quickly forget. iodized salt just an example; Iodine deficiency used to be common worldwide, leading to increased risk stillbirths and miscarriages, significant reductions in IQ scores, and reduced cognitive development. Most of the world now consumes iodized salt and many countries have eliminated this deficiency. By adding nutrients to food, we have been able to solve a number of other micronutrient deficiencies.

We were able to preserve food and increase shelf life, reducing food waste. We have reduced the spread of foodborne illnesses. People with allergies and food intolerances can now eat a balanced diet. We don’t have to spend all day preparing food—this is especially important for women’s educational and career growth. Last but not least: taste. Our shelves are now filled with foods that taste great.

Of course, when people talk about “processed” foods, they’re usually talking about ultra-processed foods (UPF). These ready-to-eat snacks and meals are designed for a longer shelf life, convenience, and taste. Corporations work hard to find “Goldilocks” flavors that we can’t resist by adding sugar and fat to make the food as delicious as possible. Many people describe these refined combinations as addictive.

It is true that increased consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with poor health outcomes. It already linked with lower consumption of essential nutrients, such as vitamins C, D and Btwelfth. The more we eat these foods, more likely We are overweight or obese. This puts us at higher risk of health conditions like heart-related diseaes, diabetes and cancer. Ultra-processed foods are easy to overconsume.

The problem with most UPFs is that they are higher in calories, sugar, and fat. And they’re lower in protein and fiber, nutrients that keep us full for longer.

But this is not inherent to food processing. What matters is what companies add to our food. They can make healthier foods if they want—or if we ask.

Growing backlash against meat substitutes

One area where I’ve seen the most backlash against processing is in meat substitutes.

These products attempt to mimic the experience of meat and include plant-based proteins such as soy-based sausages; Impossible and Beyond Meat burgers; Proteins are made from fermentation, such as Quorn and lab-grown meat.


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