Processed foods are very often compared to untreated, raw foods like seen on the picture below. How many times haven’t you seen Facebook post after Facebook post rack up long comment fields where people are competing in showing how much they despise the first mentioned. Are processed foods really all that bad?
Looking at the picture it is very easy to fall into several cognitive bias traps. Most assume the worst when the processed food looks pretty much the same after six months on the same plate, while the raw, untreated fruits looks totally out of shape after a mere eighty days. It is understandable people think: “If junk food isn’t broken down like nature intended through bacteria and fungus after six months, this surely must be bad news for my body that has to process it?”
It isn’t necessarily so. I am not going to say fast food is wonderful and you should eat it! No way! I am however going to say that you should try to add a healthy dosage of scepticism to the mix. The picture above can be explained. Don’t be fooled into paranoia like the rest of the hoard.
Lets break it down
This picture shows only one thing. Heat treated, salt and dried foods will keep their shape and look better than fruits in room temperature. Nothing more, nothing less.
The water melon on the picture contains a lot of liquid. Liquid that is very nutritious for fungus and bacteria. Obviously the fungus and bacteria comes to the party and feeds. In the process the water melon is shape-shifting into the end result we see on the picture.
The junk food does not offer fungus and bacteria the same feeding feast. BUT: If you sprinkled the same junk food you see in the picture with a little water the end result would be pretty much the same for the junk food as for the water melon.
What happens to that Junk Food when its eaten
When you eat the junk food your body goes to work. Liquid in the form of spit comes into play. So does enzymes! The inner environment of your body breaks the junk food down efficiently. Don’t think for a second you poop out French fries and burgers.
A small note on food preservation and processing
Heat treating foods is in reality not different from drying foods, refrigerating foods, vacuum packing food or salting it. These things are done for the same reason. Keep the product as fresh as possible for the longest time possible. We call this food processing.
I round this article of by again stressing that I am not intending to glorify junk food. Furthermore I am of course not against eating fruit. All I am after is showing you that in this currently very confusing health jungle there are a lot of voiced opinions that are not anchored in reality. Fight stupidity and stay in charge of your own opinions.