January 11, 2007

N@N: Vindication for processed foods

When I started working night shifts again, I started buying those "horrible" TV meals. TV meals have come quite away, and unbelievably are often their advertised "Healthy Choice". My mother is quite averse to processed foods and has always tried to steer us children away from "sugar filled americanised trash" (everything evil was always in some way related to america in my house). I learnt this was rubbish in one of my microbiology courses. Heat treatment and other processing techniques can quite often totally destroy nutrient components of processed foods, however, for this reason, most companies re-enrich their foods by post-processing addition of previously contained vitamins and proteins (and even some which weren't in there in the first place).

N@N mentions how a trend away from alleged unhealthy processed foods
towards supposedly healthy organic foods has seen a serious drop in folate levels
. Folate is especially important for women (and even more so pubescent and/or pregnant ones), but can be are also important for some guys too. I was on folate supplements for the 6 months before heading overseas. Folate plays a role in stimulating and assisting cell division and body growth.
According to the study's authors, two-thirds of women do not eat the recommended daily amount of the vitamin, which helps to prevent severe birth defects. And levels of folate in the diet have actually declined since 1999, they report.

The decline may be due to increased consumption of wholegrain breads and cereals, which are not fortified with folate
Whatever diet someone is on, whether its organic or packaged they need to pay attention to the details of what they eat if they want to stay healthy. You can't just assume because it's natural it's all going to be good for you. Moonshine is pretty natural and relatively unprocessed, you can't really call it too healthy.
Fortification of processed foods with folate has been controversial, because the compound has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and other conditions that can affect other population groups, such as the elderly. But Mulinare says that health officials have made a conscious effort to ensure that the amounts of folate found in processed foods does not pose a threat to overall health.

Although the trend towards wholegrain eating and low-carb diets has stunted women's average folate intake, there are other foods, such as broccoli, spinach or yeast products, that offer a natural dose. "But you would have to eat a very large portion of broccoli or spinach," Mulinare says.

"We recommend all three ways: a natural diet, a supplement, and fortified foods," he says. "But a pill is easiest — trying to change behaviour is more difficult."
Pills are easy. They say so.
Pills are the future, it's not a bad thing.

In your face vegan hippies.


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