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The Different Categories of Processed Food

Food and Beverages | Thursday, May 12, 2022

For better or worse, the word 'processed foods' has become synonymous with unhealthy ultra-processed foods. People must first comprehend the many types of processed foods before deciding whether they are harmful or safe to ingest.

Fremont, CA: Processed food has a poor reputation in some circles. The truth is that the bulk of the foods people consume are processed. Spinach that has been cleaned and bagged, homemade yogurt, and even a boiled egg are all considered processed foods since they have been altered in some way. It's crucial to realize that not all processed foods are bad for you. In truth, feeding the globe without processed food would be a challenging task.

Here are the different categories of processed food:

Unprocessed or minimally processed foods

Most foods are processed in some way. Foods that have been minimally processed, such as packaged carrots, chopped lettuce, and raw nuts, are healthful, and the processing is largely for convenience. Minimally processed foods may contain additives that help retain the original food's qualities and facilitate transportation.

Processed culinary ingredients

Culinary ingredients that have been treated come from natural sources or unprocessed or minimally processed foods. They are changed through operations including pressing, refining, grinding, and other methods before being employed in the culinary process. Sugar from sugar cane, maple syrup from maple trees, and vegetable oils from olive or seed oil are all examples.

processed foods

Foods like green beans, tuna, tomatoes, and berries that are canned or frozen immediately after harvesting are included in this category, which is also known as Lightly Processed Foods. They may contain one or two additional components, such as salt, sugars, or oils, but rarely contain more than three or four components. Bread, cheeses, and pasta are examples of moderately processed foods. Some pasta sauces and salad dressings are called lightly processed since they only have a few high-quality added ingredients (e.g., herbs, spices, oils).

Ultra-processed foods

Many of the foods in this category are termed as junk food. These are foods that contain sugars, oils, fats, salt, antioxidants, stabilizers, and preservatives that are prepared with five or more ingredients. In general, super processed foods have a lot of added ingredients that don't occur naturally. About 90 percent of the added sugars consumed in the United States come from ultra-processed foods. Most of the items in this category are harmful, and consuming too many of them raises the risk of obesity and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease.

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