5

votes

Processed food is sometimes good, right?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 28, 2012 at 12:56 AM

Sometimes, the easiest way to describe how we eat is to say we eat real, unprocessed food. However, it seems there are processed foods that many of us make use of. For example:

  • Rendered tallow or lard
  • Pressed coconut or olive oil
  • Fermenting dairy
  • Processing whole rice into white rice
  • Fermenting grains

So, is there a better way to say "we eat real, unprocessed food?" Is it only a subset of "processed" that's actually bad? How would we define that subset? To me it seems "bad processing" would be processing that reduces nutrient content and increases reward value and "good processing" makes nutrients more bio-available without increasing reward value. Thoughts?

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:07 PM

Mike - simple answer, make your own bacon... http://grist.org/food/cure-and-simple-how-to-make-your-own-bacon-and-charcuterie/, and I have friends that make their own yogurt (easier than making bacon at home, which is fairly easy to do).

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:59 PM

Transactional eating. What a willing seller puts in front of a willing buyer.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:54 PM

And full fat organic yogurt?

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:54 PM

I'm probably still splitting hairs, but what about bacon? That's one I struggle with.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:51 PM

Muscle meat does not have an ingredients label. As I said above, that's normally my criteria for "Processed Food".

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:49 PM

How's this? Manipulation of something you can digest solely to make it rewarding, to both buyer and seller.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:09 PM

Oh yeah, Korion, hacking away at a cow carcass is extensive processing... :) Why even kill an animal, that's processing!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:16 AM

I guess, but where does one draw the line? Muscle meat is, in a way, processed food.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:47 PM

To make flour, you have to grow wheat, harvest the wheat, dry the wheat, store the wheat, then grind it, mix with sourdough, let it rise, then bake. Yes, I can accomplish this in my own kitchen, but it is a lot of work compared to "Pick Apple. Eat Apple." Grains and Legumes fit the first definition, but not the last.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 29, 2012
at 04:29 PM

In my opinion, if paleo eating is going to see wider adoption, it has to be done along with the mass producers and the restaurant industry, etc.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 29, 2012
at 04:28 PM

Thank you. I'll admit I don't love the "factory" process distinction. I'd argue that some things (e.g., tallow rendering) could be done on a mass scale with good ingredients and turn out fine. Fast food too. I think there are more and more quick serve restaurants trying to serve good, real food, and I'm hoping this trend will continue. Same with box/wrapper. I could imagine pemmican made from pastured beef on a large scale and pre-packaged and it could be perfectly healthy.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 29, 2012
at 04:27 PM

Thanks. I don't love the "factory" process distinction. I'd argue that some things (e.g., tallow rendering) could be done on a mass scale with good ingredients and turn out fine. Fast food too. I think there are more and more quick serve restaurants trying to serve good, real food, and I'm hoping this trend will continue. Same with box/wrapper. I could imagine pemmican made from pastured beef on a large scale and pre-packaged and it could be perfectly healthy.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 29, 2012
at 04:24 PM

Thanks. I've often thought along similar lines to your second answer. If I can picture all the ingredients in their natural form and understand how to convert them into food, then they're probably okay. But, I think for some this could include making whole wheat flour? Where did bread come from when your grandmother was a small child?

5af4bc9d2c390b0bcad9524f149c1b4f

(1101)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:22 AM

I kind of feel things like stevia = sex with your pants on, ala whole30. I guess if it's not a staple... but I'd sooner just use a little sugar (1 tsp or less) a day in my coffee/tea since I know it's not a creepy chemical or hyper-concentrated "natural" substance. All personal opinion, of course. :)

5af4bc9d2c390b0bcad9524f149c1b4f

(1101)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:19 AM

Some assembly required... I like! :)

5af4bc9d2c390b0bcad9524f149c1b4f

(1101)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:19 AM

Canola, corn, soy, etc. Nasty things.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on May 28, 2012
at 10:18 PM

Pimped out hot dogs with homemade kimchi is one of my top treats.

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on May 28, 2012
at 10:50 AM

agreed bachcole ... if it was that easy we wouldn't have this site asking so many questions.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:01 AM

Obviously this is an improvement, but it would not eliminate whole classes of foods that we were not adapted to eat, like grains and legumes and large, tasty fruit.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on May 28, 2012
at 06:57 AM

This helps. For me, it helps to know that kefir was adapted to us for the purpose of being more healthful rather than like apples that were adapted to be more flavorful. If someone adapted kefir to be more flavorful than milk, they didn't do a very good job. But if they adapted kefir to be more healthful than milk, they did a great job.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on May 28, 2012
at 06:55 AM

Unfortunately we don't know what common paleo sense means. That is what we are trying to figure out.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on May 28, 2012
at 06:04 AM

exactly........

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on May 28, 2012
at 05:20 AM

.....no-no oil?

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on May 28, 2012
at 05:00 AM

For example, I don't ferment my own pickles, but I buy from a place that does traditional pickle fermentation.

A65499f2f8c65602881550fe309cd48c

(3501)

on May 28, 2012
at 01:10 AM

Much nicer answer than mine.

A65499f2f8c65602881550fe309cd48c

(3501)

on May 28, 2012
at 01:06 AM

Err...make that paleo common sense. Doh.

  • Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

    asked by

    (9402)
  • Views
    1.8K
  • Last Activity
    1402D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

11 Answers

best answer

10
4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on May 28, 2012
at 04:59 AM

I attempt to eat the way my grandmothers would have eaten as small children. Thus, any processing that has only been around since the past few years will be suspect.

Another way would be "whatever I could reasonably do in my own home kitchen." or, for simple, "minimally processed."

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on May 28, 2012
at 06:04 AM

exactly........

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on May 28, 2012
at 07:01 AM

Obviously this is an improvement, but it would not eliminate whole classes of foods that we were not adapted to eat, like grains and legumes and large, tasty fruit.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on May 28, 2012
at 05:00 AM

For example, I don't ferment my own pickles, but I buy from a place that does traditional pickle fermentation.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:47 PM

To make flour, you have to grow wheat, harvest the wheat, dry the wheat, store the wheat, then grind it, mix with sourdough, let it rise, then bake. Yes, I can accomplish this in my own kitchen, but it is a lot of work compared to "Pick Apple. Eat Apple." Grains and Legumes fit the first definition, but not the last.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 29, 2012
at 04:24 PM

Thanks. I've often thought along similar lines to your second answer. If I can picture all the ingredients in their natural form and understand how to convert them into food, then they're probably okay. But, I think for some this could include making whole wheat flour? Where did bread come from when your grandmother was a small child?

9
5af4bc9d2c390b0bcad9524f149c1b4f

(1101)

on May 28, 2012
at 01:07 AM

Processed food to most people nowadays means fast food or something in a box or wrapper. It's gone through a "factory" process, usually involving some no-no oil, grain, or sugar.

I do like your definition of good vs bad processing, however. Sounds just fine to me.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on May 28, 2012
at 05:20 AM

.....no-no oil?

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 29, 2012
at 04:28 PM

Thank you. I'll admit I don't love the "factory" process distinction. I'd argue that some things (e.g., tallow rendering) could be done on a mass scale with good ingredients and turn out fine. Fast food too. I think there are more and more quick serve restaurants trying to serve good, real food, and I'm hoping this trend will continue. Same with box/wrapper. I could imagine pemmican made from pastured beef on a large scale and pre-packaged and it could be perfectly healthy.

A65499f2f8c65602881550fe309cd48c

(3501)

on May 28, 2012
at 01:10 AM

Much nicer answer than mine.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 29, 2012
at 04:27 PM

Thanks. I don't love the "factory" process distinction. I'd argue that some things (e.g., tallow rendering) could be done on a mass scale with good ingredients and turn out fine. Fast food too. I think there are more and more quick serve restaurants trying to serve good, real food, and I'm hoping this trend will continue. Same with box/wrapper. I could imagine pemmican made from pastured beef on a large scale and pre-packaged and it could be perfectly healthy.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on May 29, 2012
at 04:29 PM

In my opinion, if paleo eating is going to see wider adoption, it has to be done along with the mass producers and the restaurant industry, etc.

5af4bc9d2c390b0bcad9524f149c1b4f

(1101)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:19 AM

Canola, corn, soy, etc. Nasty things.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:59 PM

Transactional eating. What a willing seller puts in front of a willing buyer.

4
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 05, 2012
at 10:54 AM

Mike,
Personally I think it's splitting hairs to say that home-rendered tallow is a "processed food".

My criteria for "processed food" is a little simpler than yours... "does it have an ingredients label?"

Whatever I do with those raw components (i.e. rendering suet for tallow) does not make them "processed", it makes them "prepared".

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:16 AM

I guess, but where does one draw the line? Muscle meat is, in a way, processed food.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:09 PM

Oh yeah, Korion, hacking away at a cow carcass is extensive processing... :) Why even kill an animal, that's processing!

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:07 PM

Mike - simple answer, make your own bacon... http://grist.org/food/cure-and-simple-how-to-make-your-own-bacon-and-charcuterie/, and I have friends that make their own yogurt (easier than making bacon at home, which is fairly easy to do).

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:51 PM

Muscle meat does not have an ingredients label. As I said above, that's normally my criteria for "Processed Food".

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:54 PM

And full fat organic yogurt?

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:54 PM

I'm probably still splitting hairs, but what about bacon? That's one I struggle with.

4
76026e8ef496039d5075440ff731aa0d

on May 28, 2012
at 01:18 AM

I eat Less Processed/ Engineered food...no Franken' foods...some assembly required foods...nothing that comes from a free range Lab. Truth.

5af4bc9d2c390b0bcad9524f149c1b4f

(1101)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:19 AM

Some assembly required... I like! :)

4
A65499f2f8c65602881550fe309cd48c

(3501)

on May 28, 2012
at 01:05 AM

Common paleo sense would sum it up for me.

A65499f2f8c65602881550fe309cd48c

(3501)

on May 28, 2012
at 01:06 AM

Err...make that paleo common sense. Doh.

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on May 28, 2012
at 10:50 AM

agreed bachcole ... if it was that easy we wouldn't have this site asking so many questions.

F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

(1439)

on May 28, 2012
at 06:55 AM

Unfortunately we don't know what common paleo sense means. That is what we are trying to figure out.

2
F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

on May 28, 2012
at 07:13 AM

Kefir is adapted to us to be healthy, rather than being adapted to taste better. But if kefir is OK, then what about cheese.

And what about stevia extract. Although it is low carb, no sugar, and protects us from using sugar, it is highly processed.

The question here is not whether something is politically (or paleolithically) correct or accepted by the paleo community, but whether it is healthy for us, and that usually if not always means that we are genetically adapted to eat and metabolize it. This means that this answer will not always be absolutely, positively the same for everyone. My wife's ancestors come from the Philippines. Mine come from Northern Europe and Portugal. There will be differences. Unless of course you insist upon going all of the way back to 127,000 BC when we were still all in east central Africa.

5af4bc9d2c390b0bcad9524f149c1b4f

(1101)

on May 29, 2012
at 05:22 AM

I kind of feel things like stevia = sex with your pants on, ala whole30. I guess if it's not a staple... but I'd sooner just use a little sugar (1 tsp or less) a day in my coffee/tea since I know it's not a creepy chemical or hyper-concentrated "natural" substance. All personal opinion, of course. :)

2
0d892cb232c3c7d59699fd10c995595a

on May 28, 2012
at 04:44 AM

I sometimes eat nitrate free angus (and whenever affordable) hot dogs, and ground meats... My poor Paleo!..

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on May 28, 2012
at 10:18 PM

Pimped out hot dogs with homemade kimchi is one of my top treats.

1
5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on May 28, 2012
at 05:24 AM

The reason that processed food is bad is that certain toxins and allergens are introduced in the industrial food-making process. The act of refining food is not inherently bad. I see no easy generalization to be made here.

0
04a4f204bc2e589fa30fd31b92944549

(975)

on July 11, 2013
at 03:35 AM

I find it much simpler to make a mental list of 'in' foods and 'out' foods. Veggies, meat, seafood, eggs, fruit, herbs and spices, and healthy sweeteners are the in group. Grains, dairy, legumes (except green bean), processed oil, and certain harmful additives are out. I especially watch out for: vague items such as "natural flavoring", dye, flavor enhancers, artificial sweeteners, nitrates, and nitrites. Maybe not so important but I also avoid oysters and most mushrooms (food allergies)

0
1aa42ad69e7a5ea23d748879e0b533d7

on May 28, 2012
at 01:30 AM

I must say, I get my meat [duck, lamb in some ready-to-oven plates] and soups [not dehydrated but ready for microwaves] through my supermarket's own brand because I simply do not have skills nor time to cook these. TO me this is already far too processed and also to you since by being cooled twice basically, we necessarily lose nutriments.

-2
785bab69c546375cfd3eca3294bf4057

on June 05, 2012
at 08:54 AM

MILLTEC Machinery Pvt Ltd is the leading technology providing company for rice milling, Roller flour milling, Maize (corn) milling and pulses processing plants.Rice Milling Machinery, Rice processing equipments, Rice milling Technology, Rice milling equipments, Paddy processing machinery,Rice machinery manufacturer, service provider, Manufactures, exporters,MILLTEC Machinery Pvt Ltd, in bangalore, India For more details visit :- http://www.milltecmachinery.com/

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!