The good, the bad and the ugly of Processed Foods

We all look towards building ourselves a healthier, more balanced lifestyle, but often we don’t know exactly what this means. In addition to this, it can become overwhelming when you are told to avoid certain foods and drinks. Often the category of “processed foods” comes into the conversation.

When talking about processed foods and nutrition, it’s important to start by mentioning that most foods are processed in some way. Even the staples of a healthy diet, including yoghurt, pre-washed and packaged salad greens, nut butters, milks, hummus, energy bars, and olive oil, are technically processed foods.


To shed some light, processed foods are a vast category and can occur on a broad spectrum. Some foods may have preservatives, thickeners, or other ingredients you wouldn’t normally have in your kitchen.

Let’s take a look at the hierarchy of processed foods:

Minimally Processed

These foods consist of items that have little added to them, and not much processing has been done. These include your pre-packed salads (not your pasta and potato salads but ready-made green garden salads) and items such as pre-cut vegetables and fruit.


This is where additives and flavourings come into play to extend shelf life and improve the taste of your food. Keep an eye out for pasta sauces, salad dressings, and yoghurts.

A combination of unprocessed and processed

Processed ingredients come from both unprocessed and minimally processed foods, which go through different steps of processing such as pressing, grinding, refining, drying and milling. These items are butter, oil, sugar, salt, and whole-grain flour among others.

Heavily Processed

Heavily chemically treated foods make up the bulk of this category and these should be avoided or eaten in small quantities. They include most ready-made meals, bacon and sausage, to name a few.

At Body Balancing, we know how daunting having all this information is, so we’re here to ensure you understand exactly what processed foods are and which ones should definitely be avoided.

Why processed foods aren’t good for you

People may eat more than the recommended amounts of sugar, salt, and fat when they buy processed foods because they may not know how much of each has been added. These foods can also have more calories because they have additional sugar or fat added to them.

Several scientific studies state that regularly eating processed foods can increase your chances of developing heart disease, metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes, coronary heart disease, and diseases of the brain and spinal cord.

It is also often forgotten that condiments like sauces, salad dressings, and dips are also processed foods. Simple meals are often dressed up and made more interesting and attractive by adding things like enchilada sauce, curry sauce, bottled marinades, barbecue sauce, and pesto. Although these may make meals more interesting, they still pose some detrimental health effects if not consumed in moderation.

Ultimately, we know the importance of having a balanced diet and eating everything in moderation to ensure a healthy lifestyle is maintained, and this principle also goes for processed foods.

To learn more about how you can embark on your health journey, our team of experts is only a call away. Get in touch with us today for a 45-minute consultation free of charge. Call us on (08) 9388 1166, or you can contact us via our website.