Most of the foods we buy in a normal supermarket today are industrial. Those products are made with multiple types of additives and are convenient for the supply chain and the brand’s marketing.
What are those additives for?
The most commons additives used for the colors, texture, filling and flavors are Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Artificial Food Coloring, Sodium Nitrite, Guar Gum, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Sweeteners, Carrageenan, Sodium Benzoate, and more (check healthline.com for more details).
On top of that, we can add the unhealthy fats or sugar.
Why is it so much developed? And what is considered process food?
Food processing has played a major role in the development of human societies.
2 million years ago, cooking was one of the first stages of processing to make consumable food, increase the palatability and helped to produce microbiologically healthy foods such as meat.
Preservation in salted, dried or smoked form has also been an important point in the evolution of dietary habits.
With industrialization, agricultural development and globalization, the nature, purpose, and degree of food processing have changed dramatically and evolved.
For Western countries, the problems of undernutrition have given room to the problems of malnutrition with the emergence of obesity and chronic diseases linked to nutrition, overproduction and food waste.
The nutritional transition is characterized by a shift from traditional diets based on unprocessed products such as fruits and vegetables, cereals, fresh meat to consumption of highly processed products with a high content of saturated fats, added sugars and in addition to a decrease in physical activity linked to the urbanization of our way of life.
Scientists have mentioned a westernization of the diet:
Western Diet. This diet is characterized by a diet rich in energy and poorly diversified.
Is there no regulation and control, what so ever?
Until the population stop literally to eat those junk foods. Governments are trying recently to slow down or reverse the use of additives.
We can see those efforts with the « sugar tax » in America and now European countries (see Financial Times), or some labels like the NOVA certification which identify the processed food on a scale from 1 to 4, four being the most processed (smartphone app available here).
Be aware of this actualities and stop buying processed food! It is a major health issue!
All those additives, bad fats and sugar may be responsible for many diseases. We have written an article about inflammatory food for more details.