THE IMPACT OF PROCESSING ON THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF FOOD ESSAY

Introduction

Over the years, scholars have explored the harmful effects of food preparation and preparation on the accumulated benefits that can be accessed by individuals. Before people can consume many food types, individuals must expose them to specific preparation processes that increase the taste and visual appeal of the specified food. However, existing research indicates that these processes lower the nutritional value of food, making it less useful to the human body. However, procedures that expose food to heat, light, and oxygen deprive them of their supposed benefits, a move that could introduce individuals to a wide range of health-related risks. Currently, there is limited awareness regarding the preferred food preparation tactics that should be embraced by people to ensure they continue to access the required nutritional content in their bodies.

Many health-conscious consumers have resulted in eating raw foods with the hope of exploiting the nutritional value that would have been lost during the processing activities. While a section of individuals believe that natural foods are beneficial to their bodies, others believe that cooking kills harmful micro-organisms, making the food safe for consumption. In this research, the main methods of food processing and preparation will be analyzed. Besides, the health complications that can arise from ultra-food processing activities will also be discussed to enable individuals to understand the consequences associated with their perspectives towards life. Exploring the dangers associated with food processing and reviewing the inability of individuals to safeguard themselves from dangerous micro-organisms available in raw foods is a balance that healthcare corporations should the world achieve to overcome the resulting health implications. 

Food Processing

In the medieval world, individuals embraced cooking, smoking, and fermentation as their food processing and preparation tactics. Drying was also used during summer, as people basked grains and other hard foods in the sun to eliminate any moisture that can expedite the decomposing process. While these tactics are still used today, the introduction of Information Technology (I.T.) has seen the modification of the traditional food processing tactics, enabling individuals to realize their desired objectives. With time, new food processing approaches such as high pressure, freeze-drying, and irradiation have been introduced (Dora, M., Wesana, J., Gellynck, X., Seth, N., Dey, B. & De Steur, H. 2019). Although some people consider these processes to be highly effective, researchers have pointed out specific challenges associated with the methods. Regardless of their supposed impact on the nutritional value of different food products, the techniques have improved the quality of food and its safety. Different governments acting on various insights have imposed specific regulations that dictate how food products should be prepared and processed (Agnoli, L., Capitello, R., De Salvo, M., Longo, A. & Boeri, M. 2016). In line with addressing the benefits that enhance human health, food processing tactics have had a significant impact on the views held by individuals around the globe.

Food processing has numerous advantages that benefit both the consumer and the organization tasked with the preparation process. Firstly, the approaches enhance the shelf-life of different food products, making it possible to reach many people within a specified timeline. Secondly, food preparation eradicates any dangerous micro-organisms that might expose people to numerous health risks. By presenting to high levels of heat or cold, it becomes impossible for the micro-organisms to survive, making the food products safe for human consumption (Reinhard, R.G., Kalinowski, R.M., Bodnaruk, P.W., Eifert, J.D., Boyer, R.R., Duncan, S.E. & Bailey, R.H. 2018). Thirdly, many raw foods are disregarded by many people because of aspects such as their smell, visual appeal, and taste. However, cooking these foods convert them into visually appealing and marketable products, which enable corporations and the consumer market to benefit from their availability. Importantly, food processing aspires to extend and preserve the quality of different commodities, a move that enables individuals to access food products on demand. Perishability is controlled using various food preparation techniques, a step that is considered one of the critical factors in achieving food security around the globe.

Primary Methods of Food Processing

Different community groups have specific food preparation tactics that define their culture. Importantly, these approaches differ significantly as one interacts with different cultural groups around the world. Despite the varied preparation methods of common foods, the supposed benefits associated with each technique differs significantly and exposes one to a wide range of risks, which hinder their perspectives towards life. However, food processing plays a significant role in transforming raw and wild foods into edible products that meet consumer expectations (Rudinskaya, T. & Kuzmenko, E. 2019). In the same vein, food preparation enhances the quality of safety in food and makes it accessible for a longer duration by increasing its shelf-life. One of the aspects of food security around the globe is to eliminate the limit that hinders individuals from accessing quality and secure food for consumption. While processing is done at an industrial level, people use some of these tactics at home to prepare food for consumption. Cutting, deboning, and cooking are some of the conventional food preparation methods that people might use to make a fish at home.

Primary food processing is the first level of preparing food products harvested from the farm, sea body, or the wild. In this regard, this method of food processing focuses on making the harvested product edible and safe for human consumption. While this may not be the case in specific processes such as processing wheat into flour, primary food preparation seeks to prepare food products into an ingredient that can then be used as a consumable. Secondary food processing involves the use of elements to develop an edible product that appeals to different consumer groups (Savsar, M., Elsaadany, A.K., Hassneiah, R. & Alajmi, A. 2017). For instance, a mother at home can mix the flour into a thick paste, which is mixed with other ingredients to yield the fluffy pancakes. The creation of ready-to-eat food products is realized through the second level of food preparation. Tertiary food processing is defined by the large-scale use of processing methods that incorporate all manners of food preparation. Processed food products are commodities that have undergone the tertiary food processing level, which strives to feed a larger population than the other two methods. 

Effects of Food Processing Methods on Food

Different food processing techniques have varied impacts on the nutritional value and content of food products. This aspect defines the nature of preparation methods that should be used on commodities. While food processing techniques kill micro-organisms, they also lower the nutritional value of food products, an aspect that hinders individuals from discovering their potential. Many scholars have indicated that the benefits associated with food processing are numerous and outweigh their adverse impacts on the quality of food. However, there are techniques such as blanching that result in leaching, which lowers the vitamins and mineral benefits due to a significant reduction. Plant food sources have bioactive compounds that categorized as natural antioxidants, which have a wide range of benefits to the human population (Al-juhaimi, F., Ghafoor, K., Mehmet Musa Özcan, Jahurul, M.H.A., Babiker, E.E., Jinap, S., Sahena, F., Sharifudin, M.S. & Zaidul, I.S.M. 2018). These antioxidants are responsible for the anti-inflammatory and hepatic effects, which can be affected when exposed to high levels of heat and cold temperatures. Hence, food processing affects the quality of different food products by altering their nutritional composition.

Heavily processed food products introduce unhealthy sugar levels, sodium, and fat that expose individuals to a series of health-related risks that affect the ability of individuals to accomplish their desired objectives. The various ingredients used in food preparation at home might be benevolent if used in controlled amounts (Xiao, X. & Gao, Y. 2017). However, the ingredients might prove to be dangerous when used in significant portions and can contribute towards the contraction of certain health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. 

Fig 1.0 A graphical representation of the nutritional losses incurred after food is processed. Source/Self

During food processes, harmful compounds are introduced to extend the shelf-life of the food product and enhance its taste or visual appeal. In many instances, the focus is not usually to strengthen the nutritional value associated with the food products but to accomplish other aspects related to the objectives of the organization (Zhang, L., Wang, Z., Shi, G., Yang, H., Wang, X., Zhao, H. & Zhao, S. 2018). Given that many of these food processing activities take place in large scale operations, the corporations are supposed to accomplish their desired objectives, which converts them into profit-making entities that benefit at the expense of their consumers’ health. Based on the approaches that can be used to discover the changing needs of individuals, organizations should be held to account for their actions that expose individuals to multiple health risks. 

Health Implications Resulting from the Consumption of Ultra-Processed Foods

In many instances, individuals are exposed to various health-related risks caused by their desire to consume certain products that appeal to their expectations. When individuals discover different challenges taking place in their surroundings, it becomes impossible for them to pursue their objectives because of the challenges posed by the nutritional implications created by ultra-processing techniques. Many people suffering from cardiovascular diseases were exposed at one time to processed food products, which altered their nutritional composition (Leon, K.S. & Ivy, K. 2019). In extreme cases, ultra-processed foods can lead to death because of the inability of the body to function normally. Some of the ultra-processed foods include sausages, carbonated drinks, and chicken nuggets contain imbalanced nutritional content, which hinders the body from performing its roles. The sugar content in carbonated beverages is scary, but given their taste and impact of promotional materials, many people ignore the adverse health effects associated with the processed foods and drinks. Many advertisements have made it seem impossible for individuals to survive without purchasing a cold Coke or Pepsi drink. 

Many processed foods have since been associated with carcinogenic aspects that lead to cancer, among other terminal illnesses affecting individuals in their immediate environment. Given the inability of individuals to understand the elements they should emulate to overcome challenges in their surroundings, the focus should be directed towards the measures adopted to contain the manufacturers from ignoring the valid concerns regarding the food’s nutritional value (Eduardo, B.A. 2015). On many occasions, individuals are willingly or unknowingly exposed to various health-related risks that interfere with their perspectives towards life. Individual scholars have explored the reasons why ultra-processed foods seem to be addictive than other organic products that are benevolent to the human body. Understanding the issues that influence the perspectives of individuals towards healthy living are affected by their lifestyles and social status, which enables them to afford specific diets (Abdullah, M.A., Nassani, A.A., Muhammad Moinuddin, Q.A. & Zaman, K. 2018). However, based on the dangerous nature of these foods, individuals encounter a series of challenges that interfere with their livelihoods and ability to accomplish particular objectives that define their identity. With less water content and rich calorie content, ultra-processed foods make individuals yearn for the products because of their pleasing effect.

How Processed Foods Might Not Fit in a Healthy Diet

Understanding the definition of processed food products enables individuals to make informed decisions that resonate with their focus on life. Mainly, processed foods are products that have been dried, frozen, and packaged into finished outcome with an extended shelf-life. Many of the elements used to extend the shelf life of these food products and enhance their quality might affect the nutritional value of the outcome. A section of processed foods contains sweeteners, which increase the sugar content beyond the recommended levels. Others might be fortified to introduce additional nutrients such as fiber and calcium, minerals that ease digestion, and strengthen bones, respectively. From this realization, processed foods might become part of a healthy diet, depending on the nutrition composition they have after the preparation phase (Marks, J.H. 2014). In the world today, individuals have massive access to healthy food products that appeal to their taste and other expectations. People are encouraged to read food labels, relish frozen and canned produce, and look for the heart-check mark that informs them about the options at their disposal. By cooking more meals at home and growing fruits and vegetables, individuals can limit their intake of highly processed food products, which affect their metabolism. 

Conclusion

Exploring the dangers associated with food processing and reviewing the inability of individuals to safeguard themselves from dangerous micro-organisms available in raw foods is a balance that healthcare corporations should the world achieve to overcome the resulting health implications. The different food processing methods have varied impacts on the nutritional value of food products and their ability to overcome aspects hindering individuals from discovering their potential. In the modern world, people are expected to embrace healthy eating habits that enhance their immunity levels to combat medical conditions likely to affect their survival. While specific processing methods add elements such as sweeteners and oils that distort the nutritional composition, others include nutrients that are supposed to reinforce the body’s immunity in overcoming lifestyle-related diseases. For this reason, the global population should be informed about the need to limit the intake of processed foods because of their impact on their metabolism and growth and development. 

References

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