Stop Condemning Processed Food

Processed foods, such as canned vegetables, can be part of a healthful diet.

This article is elitist:

No Amount Of ‘Free From’ Labelling Will Make Processed Food Good For You, Marion Nestle in The Guardian, 2 April 2016

The author of this article is speaking from a position of privilege. Most people (including but not limited to: the elderly, frail, low-income, people in hospitals, care homes, people who are busy earning a living) eat processed food. Any effort to improve that food (such as no unnatural additives, preservatives, colors, flavors, GMOs, or BPA) should be applauded, not criticized.

These are processed foods:

  • All oils
  • All dairy foods (butter, cheese, cream, yogurt)
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Canned and jarred beans, sauces, soups, vegetables, fruits
  • Coffee and tea
  • Chocolate
  • Juices
  • Sweeteners (sugar, maple syrup, honey)
  • Peanut butter
  • Jellies and jams
  • Infant formula
  • Beer, wine, spirits

Marion Nestle says that “no amount of subtraction” of additives and other chemicals can make processed foods part of a healthful diet. I disagree. Any amount of subtraction of harmful ingredients is good because people eat these foods. Processed foods, most of the foods in the list above, can be a part of a healthful diet. You can live a long healthy life eating these foods.

There was a comment under this article, by Steve Gustafson. There’s some truth in it:

Food moralism exists to serve the interests of a leisure class. The luxury of cooking from scratch is something that belongs to people who have a great deal of time on their hands, or better, the ability to hire servants. ‘Organic’ and ‘sustainable’ both mean a steep price increase.

We get to look down at the people who just want something quick and simple for the stovetop or the microwave. They’re lazy and unhealthy, too stupid to educate themselves about the necessity of costly boutique raw produce. In other words, the usual stereotypes apply.

4 thoughts on “Stop Condemning Processed Food

  1. Bix Post author

    I’m not a fan of dairy food. I don’t eat it myself. I included it in this list of processed foods because unless one is squirting milk into their mouth from a cow’s udder, they’re eating a very man-handled product. It has been homogenized and pasteurized, chemicals have been added to it (vitamins A and D, and you know there is poor regulation of those in this country), and it has been in contact with several containers any of which could be leaching their linings into the food. It’s processed.


  2. Pingback: Marion Nestle, Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Dr. Weil, Michelle Obama … They Just Don’t Get It | Fanatic Cook

  3. Pingback: Millions Of People Cannot Cook From Scratch From Food They Bought At A Farmers Market | Fanatic Cook

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