How do we make “junk food” from valuable food?

More and more people want to eat healthily. The consumers' awareness increases. Because of the media, specialists and sports people we choose active lifestyle and decide to buy unprocessed food products. We are trying to base on them when creating our menus. However, often unconsciously, at home, we lower the nutrition value of the products we buy significantly by treating them improperly. As a consequence, the meals are poor in nutrients and rich in energy. We even sometimes prepare dishes which are the source of dangerous carcinogenic compounds. How do we usually lower the value of eaten food?

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Junk food and mental condition

Wrong thermal treatment

According to the specialists' observations, along with experience, the most frequent reason of “violating” valuable food products is inappropriate choice of thermal treatment. Far too often there is the “carbonization” of meals – the line between “well done” and “burned” is very thin. Whereas, such black parts of meat, vegetables or other products are dangerous for health – they contain various carcinogenic compounds. As a reminder, I have to write that the most friendly for our health are: steaming and boiling, roasting and grilling (but not too aggressive, which could lead to burned parts), as well as short frying. In the last case, you have to remember about the good product to fry in. The best products used for frying are following: coconut oil, clarified butter, lard, rapeseed oil and olive oil (used in frying for limited period of time, not so intensive). You should definitely not use the following for frying: sunflower seed oil, grape-pip oil, soya oil, linseed oil, etc. It's also worth to mention the fact that we treat the chosen products thermally to improve their taste – nuts are good example here. The non-roasted ones may be a valuable component of diet (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashew nuts), but the fats found in them undergo thermo oxidative changes in high temperature, which is why some dangerous for health compounds may appear. At the end of this paragraph I would like to mention the fact that excessively fried, roasted or grilled meals are stodgy and they influence the functioning of the digestive tract in an adverse way – it is also and important factor when choosing the way of thermal treatment.

Shameful additives

Even the most valuable food product may lose its advantages in a situation when we decide to use poor-quality additives. We often choose complementary products to improve the palatability or the texture of the final dish, we sometimes do that because we are used to doing that, or because of culinary traditions. And so, we cure meat to make it soft (using curing salt, which contains sodium nitrite), we often use large amount of salt, sugar (in a form of brown sugar, cane sugar, pseudo-fruity syrups), we enrich the dishes with hydrogenated fatty acids (most frequently by adding e.g. stock cubes to the meals), of which harmful influence on health has been proven many times.

Summary

We often lower the nutrition value of the food products ourselves by choosing wrong methods of thermal treatment, or by enriching the meals with not so valuable, or even harmful additives, just like in case of hydrogenated plant fats. The consequence of not well-thought culinary procedures may be eating hard to digest meals, which are unfriendly for the digestive tract, poor in vitamins and minerals, but rich in calories and compounds harmful for health.