Unhealthy diets are one of the major causes of the estimated 11 million annual deaths and 15% of all years lost to illness that are attributed to the global burden of disease. The influence of strong private entities, such as transnational food manufacturers, in promoting unhealthy diets through the influencing of food supply chains, food settings, and consumer behaviour has come under growing fire from the public health community. To date, the primary focus of such research, including as part of the developing field of the commercial determinants of health (CDoH), has examined: the associations between unhealthy food products and poor population health outcomes; the underlying global drivers and institutional arrangements that support corporate interests and transnationalism; and the utilisation of corporate political strategies, such as political donations, lobbying, and regulatory capture, by dominant corporations.
Consumers’ food choices and preferences are impacted by a variety of variables, including marketing tactics as well as social, cultural, and health-related considerations. In reality, marketing has a role in influencing decisions about food intake. Nevertheless, the brands are essential for the successful execution of any marketing strategy.
Types of Food Processing
- Unprocessed or minimally processed food
- Processed culinary ingredients
- Processed food
- Ultra-processed food
Processed and Canned Food
Before being consumed, almost every food is prepared in some form. Extending shelf life and removing microorganisms (which might cause sickness) are the two primary commercial justifications for processing food.
The act of merely cooking a dish or mixing it with additional ingredients to make a recipe is sometimes regarded as food processing. In any event, processing frequently modifies the nutritional content of food.
Fruits and vegetables can be processed to be canned to increase their shelf life.
Usually, canning is finished shortly after picking. Depending on the food item, certain processes may differ, however, there are three main steps:
- Processing: Before canning, fruits, and vegetables are cleaned, peeled, chopped, sliced, pitted, or cooked. After the meal has been cooked, the cans are seasoned appropriately and filled with either juice or water.
- Sealing: Food is placed in airtight cans, and the lid is then fastened.
- Heating: To destroy hazardous germs and stop deterioration, the can is immediately heated to a certain temperature for a predetermined period of time after being sealed.
Some Examples of Canned Food
Processed Food Can Increase the Risk to a Person’s Health as It Contains
- Added sugar
- Artificial ingredients
- Refined carbohydrates
- Low in nutrients
- Low in fibre
- Quick calories
- Trans fat
Ultra Processed Foods
Products made via industrial methods and/or containing industrially generated components are considered ultra-processed foods and beverages.
The processing processes employed in ultra-processed foods are different from the simpler and more conventional ones mentioned above. Fractionation, hydrogenation, hydrolysis, extrusion, moulding, and pre-frying are examples of industrial processes.
Ultra-processed meals are frequently very delicious and convenient, yet they frequently include a lot of added sugar, salt, oils, and fats. They also include components and additives that aren’t often found in a household pantry, such emulsifiers, inverted sugars, and artificial colours and tastes.
Foods that have undergone extreme processing include:
- carbonated beverages and energy beverages
- sweetened morning cereals, pastries, and confections
- prepared pizza, spaghetti, cheese, and meat dishes
- sausages, burgers, hot dogs, and other packaged and powdered reconstituted meat items.
- ‘Instant’ soups, noodles, and desserts that are powdered and packed.
Ultra Processed Food and Health
Ultra-processed food consumption might result in increased calorie intake and weight gain.
A high intake of foods that have undergone extreme processing has also been associated to:
- Cardiovascular, and metabolic conditions
- Digestive system issues
It is yet unknown what causes the link between eating foods that have been through a lot of processing and developing chronic diseases. However, it is probably partially explained by increasing consumption of sugar, salt, fats, and oils, increased calorie intake as a result of their high palatability, and the substitution of meals made from wholesome, minimally processed, and unprocessed foods.
Impact of Food on Mood
Even while they might be soothing, the high-fat, sugary meals that we frequently desire when we are anxious or sad may not be the best for our mental health.
As individuals all across the world struggled with heightened levels of stress, despair, and anxiety, many resorted to their favourite processed foods for comfort, such ice cream, croissants, pizza, and hamburgers. Although they may appear soothing, research conducted recently shows that the high-fat, sugar-filled foods we frequently want when we are anxious or sad are unlikely to be good for our mental health.
Amount of BPA in Canned Food
A chemical called BPA (bisphenol-A) is often used in food packaging, particularly cans. According to studies, the BPA in canned food can move from the lining of the can into the food within. In one research, 78 canned items were examined, and more than 90% of them had BPA. Furthermore, studies have shown that consuming canned food is a major source of BPA exposure.
In one research, those who ate 1 serving of canned soup every day for 5 days had a rise in the amount of BPA in their urine of more than 1,000%.
Despite conflicting data, several studies on humans have connected BPA to health issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and male erectile dysfunction. Also, eating a lot of canned food is not the greatest choice if you’re trying to reduce your exposure to BPA.
How to Make a Good Decision
- It’s crucial to read the label and ingredient list, just as with any product.
- Select the “low sodium” or “no salt added” option if your consumption of salt is a concern for you.
- Select fruits that are canned in juice or water as opposed to syrup to avoid added sugar.
- Foods’ salt and sugar concentrations can be reduced by draining and washing them.
- The only way to be certain is to study the ingredient list because many canned goods do not even have any additional ingredients.