Healthy Living

The Dangerous World of Food Processing

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Processed foods are bad news.

It’s often been said that nearly all of the foods linked with rampant health issues come in a bottle, can, or box.

In fact, studies have directly linked the consumption of processed foods with an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, cancer, and a whole host of other degenerative diseases.[1]

Here’s the thing about the food processing industry: they don’t care about your health.

Their primary goal is to create products that are irresistible, are cheap to produce, and have a long shelf-life (which, of course, also increases the company’s bottom line).

And they’re willing to go to whatever means necessary to accomplish this goal—even if it means addicting you to toxic “food-like substances” and sapping your health in the process (no pun intended).

Regrettably, many consumers are completely unaware of what industrial food processing actually entails. This isn’t surprising, though, given that Big Food has kept all of this information under pretty tight wraps.

They’ll claim that their ominous silence is necessary to protect their trade secrets and recipes—but you can bet it also has something to do with the deleterious effects that processing has upon food.

Many common processing practices quite turn literally turn real food into poison.

And if people really knew this truth, wouldn’t they probably purchase fewer processed foods? Any way you look it, Big Food is concerned only for its bottom line.

Lifting the curtain on food processing

It should be obvious by now that regulatory commissions, governments, and advocacy groups are not fully able to protect you from Big Food’s health-sapping practices. Living a vibrant, healthy life requires educating yourself and taking responsibility for your own choices.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of food processing, along with why they’re dangerous—so that you’re well-equipped to make choices that will keep you healthy and happy.


Each year, over 500,000 metric tons of foodstuffs are passed through an ionizing radiation field before being brought to market.

That’s right: your food is zapped with radioactive isotopes. If you think Fukushima and other generators of worrisome nuclear waste are the only radiation source worth worrying about, think again.

So why on earth would the food industry do such a thing?

The food-powers that be like to argue that it’s a “promising” technology for harmlessly and effectively killing foodborne bacteria without damaging the rest of the product’s integrity.

Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, almost none of their argument is true—and the darker side of irradiation is rarely even discussed.

First of all, irradiation doesn’t even effectively kill some pathogens (including the one that causes mad cow disease). And even if it manages to kill other bacteria, it certainly doesn’t do so “harmlessly.”

In the process, it also destroys up to 80% of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and nutrients.[2] Irradiated food consumption by animals has been conclusively linked with premature death, cancer, reproductive dysfunction, chromosomal abnormalities, liver damage, weight regulation issues, and vitamin deficiencies.[3]

Nevertheless, it seems that the food industry is willing to overlook these risks, probably because—surprise, surprise—irradiation dramatically increases the shelf-life of food products.

And the FDA is doing very little to stem this toxic tide. When they legalized food irradiation, they didn’t even determine a safe level of radiation (which violates federal law), and the studies they used in their legalization process have been strongly criticized for not meeting modern scientific protocols.[4]

Make no mistake, though: irradiated food is not safe for human consumption, regardless of what the FDA may tell you. Steer clear of it by only purchasing food products that don’t have the radura symbol and a “treated with irradiation” warning.


Nearly all milk products and juices undergo either regular pasteurization, High-Temperature Short-Time pasteurization, or Ultra-Heat Treatment pasteurization.

Even though it’s claimed that these processes make products safer to drink, all three of them merely create dead, harmful drinks that are devoid of nutrients and incredibly difficult to digest.[5]

This is one of the many reasons why commercially available milk can be incredibly destructive to your health.


Refinement is one of many methods to keep food from spoiling. Unfortunately, it’s simultaneously one of the worst and most prevalent methods of doing so.

Food preservation is an ancient technology that has allowed mankind to save fresh foods for consumption during times of scarcity (like pre-civilization winters).

Many preservation methods (which are technically types of food processing) are helpful and harmless, including freezing, smoking, pickling, fermenting, canning, or drying (beware dried food products that have added sugar and chemicals, though).

Unlike these other processes, refinement entails removing the portion of the food that most easily spoils—which almost always ends up being the most nutritious part.

Thus, refined grains and sugars are stripped of all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals that gave them any chance of being healthful in the first place.

Some grains are enriched with iron and B vitamins after the refinement process, but evidence suggests that these synthetic nutrients not properly absorbed by the body, and that they’re sometimes even treated as toxic foreign agents that tax the immune system.[6]

Added toxins and “flavors”

No discussion of processed food is complete without mentioning the horrendous array of artificial ingredients added to industrial food products.

The food industry uses colorants, emulsifiers, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, stabilizers, texturizers and even bleach products—all for the sake of creating a superficially enticing, profitable product.

You should even be suspicious of any “flavors” that are mentioned in the ingredient list, as most food flavors are laboratory-created chemical cocktails that haven’t undergone any safety testing whatsoever.

And we probably won’t see any worthwhile testing in the near future either—the “flavorists” occupy a multi-billion-dollar industry, and they’d like to keep it that way.

Choose real food

The far-reaching, adverse health effects of food processing is an unnerving reality. But the way to protect yourself is simply to avoid processed food at all costs. If you simply must purchase packaged foods, at least learn to decipher food labels, so that you know which products are the unhealthiest for you.

Choosing real, wholesome food over processed food is one of the simplest and most powerful ways you can optimize your health. By doing so, you’ll also let Big Food know that you’re unwilling to play their profits-over-people game any longer, and that your health is worth more than the alluring convenience of their toxic wares.




[2] FDA Memorandum, from Kim Morehouse, Ph.D. to William Trotter, Ph.D. April 11, 2000.

[3] Kesavan, P.C., Swaminathan, M.S. “Cytotoxic and mutagenic effects of irradiated substrates and food material.” Radiation Botany, 11:253-181, 1971.

[4] A Broken Record: How the FDA Legalized — and Continues to Legalize — Food Irradiation Without Testing it for Safety. Washington, D.C.: Public Citizen, Cancer Prevention Coalition, Global Resource Action Center for the Environment, Oct. 2000.



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