When we think about the word ‘processed’ it is best to clarify what we actually mean in the context of this article. We all know that there is some processing that is done to natural foods to get them from the plant to where humans are able to buy them to take home to consume. This would include the processing of fruit from the tree and into the shop or market so we can buy it. It also includes the processing of meat so that we do not have to buy the whole cow, but can pick up cuts from the supermarket, or the process of making milk into butter, cream and other useful dairy items. The kinds of foods that we are talking about here are foods that are processed using chemicals, which in essence de-nature them to the point where a lot of the goodness is removed.
Low Nutrient Content
One of the main reasons why it is best to avoid processed foods is that they have a much lower nutrient content than if we ate them the way nature intended, as raw and unprocessed as possible. The fact that there has been a significant rise in cancer during recent times could very well have much to do with the fact that people are eating a lot more foods, but with a lower nutrient content. So their bodies are spending a lot of good energy processing the food, but not really getting any fuel that the body can use.
High Sugar Content
A lot of the ‘fast foods’ that you buy either at the supermarket or at the fast food ‘restaurants’ are extremely high in sugar and carbohydrates. They are carefully engineered to look and taste like real food, (and some of them are such a good copy that it really can be difficult not to be fooled). However, often they have a much higher sugar content than regular foods. One of the reasons for this is that the companies that produce them want you to become addicted so that you keep coming back for more. The best way to eat food is as nature intended, pure and unadulterated, to avoid hidden sugars that cause a variety of health issues if continually eaten over long periods of time.
Anything that has ‘artificial flavourings’ basically means that it has chemical additives that are produced in laboratories to create the illusion of being the food that it is pretending to taste like. When you see a product that says ‘chicken flavoured’, it is very unlikely that there is actually any chicken involved in the product. To get this amazing flavour out of thin air, as you can imagine, takes a delicate balance of difference chemicals, and therefore, not something that will be doing any good for your body, or your mind.
High Fat Content
Most processed foods have a high trans fat content; this is the bad hydrogenated fat, which clogs arteries and often leads to heart disease. Not only will they not be doing your body any favours but can also become addictive, which means your body will need more of them. We all know that cholesterol clogs up our arteries but do we really know how much fat is actually in that ‘low fat’ microwave meal that we have chosen from the supermarket freezer section? And what sort of preservatives are in it to allow it to be kept for so long?
If you are playing sport, the best thing you can do for your body is to put good fuel in, so that you can get the best out of it. At Salisbury Super Sport, we encourage our players to choose the highest quality and most nutritious foods and snacks, because we know that good health requires a holistic approach – mind, body and spirit.