What You Need To Know About Processed Foods

If you've read any diabetes literature, or talked to those with experience, you've probably been warned to stay away from processed food.

What exactly is processed food? And what do you need to know about it to make smart choices?

Processed Food

Do you know what they call Chinese food in China? Food. Can you guess now what we call processed food in America? You got it-- food. Most of the foods we eat are processed so we don't even think of them as different.

Processed food has been altered from its natural state. The closer a food is to how it exists in nature, the less processed it is.

Are All Processed Foods Bad?

While a lot of processed foods can be bad for you, just because a food is processed doesn't mean it's off limits. A bag of plain frozen broccoli spears, for example, would be processed minimally and wouldn't be bad for you.

On the other hand, a bag of baked broccoli casserole in cheese sauce with 16 ingredients listed would be considered heavily processed and you'll want to avoid it.

Making Smart choices

Always check food labels. Count the calories, carbs and fat to make sure you're within your allowances. Avoid foods that have a lot of added ingredients, particularly sugar or chemicals that are difficult to pronounce. Choose foods with fewer ingredients, and that remain as close to their natural state as possible.

Keep things in balance, and you should avoid any adverse effects from any food processing without depriving yourself.

Photo: Primal Roost