Processed Foods: The Trojan Horse on our shelves

Processed Foods: The Trojan Horse on our shelves

Processed Foods: The trojan horse on our shelves

The giants of the food manufacturing industry have destroyed the intrinsic structure of food, transforming much of it into highly palatable ultra (chemically) processed carbohydrates that can be digested rapidly. Although yummy in the consumers eyes, these processing methods have been known to damage health, if eaten in excess. For example, many studies have revealed that eating ultra-processed foods was linked to major chronic illnesses.  It’s often the case that because it’s sold on a supermarket shelf, we think it’s consumable. Even though it is of course edible, it is worth unpacking the nutritional value in these products - and in this blog I hope to highlight how our food system delivers nutrient-deficient foods, and how that can damage your health. But that’s not all, we’ll outline how to spot and minimise consumption of processed foods. 

 Manna Eating: Natural is our concept

Understanding what is in your food is the foundation of Manna Eating’s concept. We wish to inspire and provoke your curiosity about your food choices. By definition, Manna means "What is it?". Our snacks inspire you to discern what you are eating. Why? The current food system injects so many preservatives and synthetics, that we fail to appreciate flavour. Manna seeks to change that with our award-winning nutrient-dense snacks. 

First, let's take a closer look at how the current food system deserves closer scrutiny, especially around nutrition:

Nutrition: 3 reasons why there's a problem

 

  1. 75% of food purchased in the UK is unhealthy.
  2. Metabolic syndrome (diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity) affects 1 in 3 adults in the UK.
  3. 60% of the UK adult population are overweight (35.6%) or obese (28.7%) - one in three children are in the same category.

A number of factors influence the above statistics. Importantly, one important factor to consider is the impact of nutrition in our diets, which can indirectly influence our health. Nutrition is central to a balanced and healthy diet - and the current food options, littered across our shelves, don't support a well-balanced diet. Such shortcomings, we believe, definitely influence the above statistics, to various extents. 

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Foods are designed to taste too good

Since the 1970s, governmental food guidelines have been confusing and misguided. Over the period of my lifetime “spanning over 50 years”, the quality of our staple grains, particularly wheat have been manipulated and reconstructed into modified starch, fats, sugar and salt. These ingredients are designed to be irresistible, encourage overconsumption and increase the palatability or sensory appeal.

Huge manufacturing infrastructures were invested in during this same period, allowing a few industry leaders to become the “grainery to the world”, producing mass quantities of cheap ingredient fillers, thus compromising over quality.

To take one example: the structure of one of earth’s most powerful energy food sources, the wheat berry, which is still available as a wholefood and is a delicious wholegrain especially in salads, has been degraded and stripped of its entire nutrient value. The endosperm (the most nutritional tissue in the plant seed) is completely destroyed by sheer heat and converted into predigested or modified starch which is then packaged into thousands of different products - shapes - sizes.

Carbohydrates: natural vs processed

Over the years, carbohydrates are often demonized! Endless articles and diets encourage us to watch carbs, cut carbs, or go low-carb. However we need carbs, and more than we may think.

Dietary carbs provide the body's primary energy source, glucose, which fuels everything we do, from breathing to thinking to exercising.

Why do we need carbohydrates? 

Eating carbohydrates stimulates the insulin hormone - this is the hormone that extracts the sugars from the carbohydrate and uses it to energise us through our blood sugar levels.

The quality of the carbohydrate we eat will determine how our blood sugar levels respond!

Good quality carbohydrates:  Whole & natural 

Whole grains (such as brown rice, spelt, wheat berry), legumes (such as lentils and varieties of beans), nuts (such as brazil, almond, walnut), and a variety of delicious plant based foods (vegetables and fruits).  This is a great way to boost your intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for further immune protection. 

Poor quality carbohydrates:  Chemically processed, added with refined sugars, bland 

Ultra processed carbohydrates found in doughnuts, white bread, cakes, sugary beverages are not optimal for the digestive track and tend to flood our systems with rapid sugars, which cause instant spikes in our blood sugar levels.  The insulin hormone has to work harder to process the excess sugars and will store it as fat for later. As they are injected with sugars, they taste good - but as highlighted earlier, they can be damaging for our health, spiking blood pressure - and thus can be seriously harmful for people with chronic health diseases. 

This subject is quite complex, our blog is written to help you cut through the confusion surrounding the quality of the carbohydrates available to us, the food manufacturing giants will argue that they are only giving us what we demand, cheap, convenient, fast food.

We can all demand for change in the way we shop, there are many small independent businesses, brand disruptors championing for change.  Our responsibility as a food business is to ensure that our products are authentic, nutritious, tasty and sustainable.  We can effect change one bite at a time with transparent food labelling and effective communication.


How is Manna Eating Different?

Manna Eating is small business that creates natural, nutritional snacks using plant-based ingredients. We handmade in small batches and this allows us to create snacks with amazing, extraordinary flavours - try for yourself. 

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