Jago Grahak Jago

Jago Grahak Jago Logo

Is Food Processing Bad?

June 15,2024

There is a common belief that food cooked at home is not processed & healthier and that food cooked in an industrial kitchen is processed and unhealthy. This is not true. As the food cooked in an industrial kitchen is made in bulk quantity, with standardised recipes as per food standards issued by food regulatory authorities (like FSSAI, Tea Board, Spice Board, DAHD etc.) and adhering to stricter health and safety norms during the preparation.

What is Food Processing?

Food processing which refers to transforming food ingredients like grains, meat, vegetables, fruits, etc. with minimal waste into a value-added and convenient processed product can be done in a home kitchen or in a large-scale kitchen usually known as an industrial manufacturing unit. The technique, ingredients, food additives , packaging, and transportation are almost similar and vary only in the case of size and volume. The process of oil-preserved pickle made by our granny at home is similar to manufacturing the same at the industrial level which includes sorting, cleaning, pickling, and packing. It is not incorrect to say that large-scale food processing has eased our fast-paced and hustled lives and made more space and time for interaction with our loved ones.

Does processing decreases nutritional value of the food?

The most common myth prevalent for processed foods is that it will decrease the nutritional value of the food but it is not always true.

In fact, some foods must be necessarily processed prior to consumption to remove harmful / toxins naturally present e.g.

Milk must be boiled or pasteurised to kill harmful bacteria to make it safe for human consumption,

Most of the anti-nutritional compounds of the pulses that are present in the seed coat are sensitive to heat and can be substantially reduced by milling, cooking, germination, fermentation, and heat processing.

Germination induces enzymes to split up carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins into basic methods and stimulates proteases involved in destroying proteins, thus enhancing the bioavailability of nutrients. Vitamin C and the B complex vitamins increase dramatically and encourage the production and productivity of seedlings.

During fermentation, lactic acid bacteria synthesise vitamins and minerals, produce biologically active peptides with ensymes such as proteinase and peptidase, and remove some non-nutrients. Fermented foods provide many health benefits such as anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-atherosclerotic activity.

Juicing helps in breaking down complex carbohydrates to simpler forms for easy digestion and assimilation by the body.

Another way in which food processing enhances nutritive value of foods is fortification with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, omega-3, dietary fiber etc. Some examples are:

Milk is fortified with Vitamin A and D to address nation-wide associated deficiencies.

Common Edible Salt is fortified with Iodine to address nation-wide associated deficiencies.

Non-carbonated waters are fortified with certain minerals like Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, etc. to replenish lost minerals during exercise or sports activity.

Fruit Juices are fortified with certain minerals and vitamins like Vitamin C, D, K, B complex, E, Iron, Calcium etc. to enhance nutritive value of the juices.

Edible oils are fortified with omega-3, Vitamin A to enhance its nutritive value.

Biscuits and other bakery items are fortified with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber to enhance its nutritive value and avoid digestive issues related to cereals.

Source: Healthworld

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *