Organic foods aid health, processed foods hinder it

Processed foods can lead our bodies to destruction, while natural foods protect and maintain good health. Living in a fast-paced world forces us to eating in a hurry, which means turning to processed foods.

But some nutritionists said it is difficult to receive the nutrients needed for your body from processed foods.

“Once you process everything, once you package it and heat it, you destroy a lot of its vitality,” said Gene Crozier, a local nutritionist, and employee of New Leaf Market in Tallahassee.

Online reports said that many vitamins are lost during the processing of foods.

“Processed and refined foods can have a significant loss of vitamins and minerals,” said Alice Beuder of the University Health Center at the University of Georgia. “Many vitamins are destroyed by heat and light.”

Crozier said that some prominent food companies have bought out small food companies. “Where the integrity is being compromised, you see things that are manufactured like an organic cookie or cracker,” Crozier said, adding that the big companies don’t have to label what they put in their foods. They don’t want to live up to the natural or organic standards that most companies have to.

Crozier said if we are concerned with what goes into our foods we will have to do some homework on the company. Natural and organic foods differ in many ways.

“Organic foods are supposed to be grown with organic fertilizer rather than the chemical formula that agri-business uses,” said Freida Ireland, 88, a retired Leon County teacher.

Ireland has been a vegetarian since she was in fifth grade. She has never had any diseases, and she attributes this to her natural eating.

“Agri-business uses chemicals in the soil whereas organic foods are supposed to be grown with no pesticides,” she said.

Processed foods undergo extreme changes during manufacturing.

“First principle in chemistry is, heat makes chemical changes,” Ireland said. “So anything that is processed, if it’s in bottles or cans or anything, has to go undergo some heat in order to produce a vacuum to hold the cover and get rid of air. Processing always means that you’re moving away from natural.”

Parallel to Ireland’s approach, Beuder explains the effects of processed foods: “Processing is any treatment a food undergoes before it is eaten. Freezing, canning, drying, milling, enriching, and even cooking are examples of processing.”

It causes “structural, chemical, and nutritional changes” in foods.

Bueder said: Processing is typically for the purpose of “preservation, extension of shelf life, increased digestibility and palatability, safety, and to create new foods. Nutritionally, the loss of vitamins, minerals or fiber, and the addition of excess fat, salt and sugar cause the greatest concern.”

According to, 75 percent of sodium in our diets is from processed foods. On average, individuals in the United States consume 80 to 90 pounds of sugars a year, mostly from processed foods. Sugar adds only calories and no other nutrients and some boxed entrees are high in fat.

Contact Cutina Francis at