Food processing: “the truth about…”
“How beautiful and rewarding it is to turn food into more profitable foods” would say the food industry if it were represented by a talking subject …
to easily explain this phenomena we shall think this process as having a functional or a normal food and changing its components to make it more profitable, even if that means to remove its functional benefit for our health. It is basically a process that create dis-functional food. But not all processing over food are like that. Let’s make some distinctions.
Surely there are food preparations that need a processing/processing of ingredients to become what they are, in which case we are talking about manipulations put in place because they are indispensable. Let’s take a representative example: a pera juice, which in order to be bottled can not remain a pera but this will have to be necessarily squeezed … in addition to this operation everything that can be done goes beyond wanting to extract the juice from the pere.
There are various additional transformations that can be put in place to make it what we then normally consume. Once squeezed, the bead can be filtered to completely or part of the fibrous part to make the juice more liquid and clearer. The juice can be homogenized through machinery that will make its particles all of a size no larger than the predetermined one, thus increasing the ability not to “separate” in the bottle, which visually would be not beautiful to see. The juice can be condensed by evaporating part of the water that composes it, which is done to lower the volumes and consequently the costs of transport. The concentrate can then be rehydrated with more water than the subtracted one thus becoming more “washed”, here will be added sugars, antioxidants, thickeners and aromas to improve it.
All this to say that behind a banal industrial style pera juice, there are a series of practices that do not have a decisive effect on obtaining the product per se, but have aesthetic, practical and economical purposes.
Added to this is the fact that often the more the material is processed, processed and modified, the more it deviates from a “healthy” food, thus being able to lose important nutritional characteristics. At other times the processes involve changes in processed matter that can make it less digestible or sometimes even “harmful”. Examples could of course be made in dozens but I point out a couple of interesting research ideas: Trans fats and nanoparticles (due to pushed processes).
Remember, behind each product there is a micro world … be curious