what are processed foods?!
Anything other than raw food has been processed in some way or another.
Even milk is a processed food because it's been pasteurized to kill off bacteria so it's safe to drink. A steak is considered processed because it was cut up by a butcher. Bread is a processed food because its ingredients have been mixed and baked for you.
So processed foods aren't necessarily bad for you.
However, the more processing a food requires, generally the less healthy for you it is. For instance, those complete frozen dinners you just pop in the microwave are heavily processed, yes? Much of the processing involves adding various preservatives or other chemicals to make the food look and taste good even after being on the shelf for a really long time. Also, they contain a lot more fat and sugar than freshly prepared foods would contain.
As for calories... A calorie is a measurement of heat energy produced by food (all food.) To measure how many calories an item has, scientists set it on fire (yes, literally!) and measure how much heat is produced. The more heat, the higher the calories. An average adult needs around 1800-2000 calories a day. Olympic athletes may need 3000 calories a day while training, and Alaskan sled dogs can burn as much as 10,000 calories a day while racing! Fat and sugar contain a lot of calories. In fact just 1 tablespoon of butter contains 100 calories all by itself and 1 teaspoon of sugar contains 15 calories. A can of soda pop is about 120 calories - all of it is from sugar. This means each can contains the equivalent of 8 teaspoons of sugar.
When you consume food, your body breaks it down into basic components. For instance, proteins are used to build new cells, while fat and sugar are used to provide you with energy. If there are leftovers, your body will convert them into body fat for storage. This isn't always a bad thing - you need some body fat as it helps your body operate more smoothly. The problem is if you continually eat too much, your body just makes more and more body fat...and that means you're gaining weight.
Sugar and fat (in food) are the easiest substances for your body to convert into body fat. While you need some sugar and fat in your diet, most of our food contains way too much of these. As a result, many people become overweight. This is also why when people diet, they should avoid foods high in sugar and fat. Most of the time they don't need the extra calories, and also, a diet low in sugar and fat will force their body to start using the excess body fat it stored earlier and use it to provide energy.
All food items have nutritional information printed on their packaging, including calories per serving, how much fat and sugar they contain, and also a complete list of ingredients. Get into the habit of reading the nutritional information panels to help you make better choices about the foods you buy.
Techically, if you don't kill, skin, and butcher it or harvest and clean it before eating, all foods are processed.
The term "processed" generally refers to foods, such as crackers or chicken nuggets, that are highly changed. These foods tend to have a lot of salt, a lot of fat, and very low nutritional value. Frozen peas are "processed", but are much healthier than Pop Tarts, which are also processed.
Typical Processed foods that should be avoided:
Breakfast pastries and bars (Pop Tarts etc)
Juice drinks (with sugar)
Crackers and chips
Canned soups, meats, and pastas
Frozen prepared meals
Breaded Meat Products (chicken nuggets, chicken patties, fish sticks)
Other Processed foods that have some nutritional merit include:
All foods are processed in one way or another.
There are numerous ways they are process such as greens that are rinsed and bagged up or apples that are rinsed and then packed ito boxes or bags.
Then there are the foods that are frozen, dried, smoked, salted, pickled etc
Those that are boxed up to make your instant meals like Mac and Cheese or Soup mixes etc
An example of good processing is frozen veggies. Most often they are harvested at the optimum time and are better than canned and in some places the so called 'fresh'.
On the lower level are things like Mac & Cheese or Ramen noodle that are high in sals and fats. Others are high in sugar like some of the breakfast cereals or ar packed in oil like canned fish.
Too much of anything is bad for you as the body can't handle coping with them..
(processed foods are the "foods" that are NOT in it's natural form anymore, like you don't pick it from a tree and eat it... instead it's been processed through a comany (added pesticides and preservatives, sometimes already cooked, and baggage in wrapper).