27 September 2019

Get With the Process

Contrary to popular belief, processed foods are not all bad

Get With the Process

Assistant professor Kacie Ho (HNFAS) recently co-authored two articles that highlight how processed foods can be used to meet nutritional needs. In “The Roles of Food Processing in Translation of Dietary Guidance for Whole Grains, Fruits, and Vegetables,” the authors describe how processing strategies in alignment with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) have been used to improve the nutritional quality of foods. As the abstract explains, the DGArecommend the consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. However, current consumption patterns suggest that most Americans are not meeting these recommendations. The challenge is to align the DGA guidance with the food environment and consumers’ expectations for product quality, availability, and affordability, and a potentially good way to do this is with processed foods. These foods play an increasingly important role in American diets, and though they’re often characterized as unhealthy, they can contribute to food and nutritional security. The authors describe processing strategies for whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to show how DGA principles can guide processing efforts to create healthier products. 

The second article, “Potential Health Benefits of (Poly)phenols Derived From Fruit and 100% Fruit Juice,” discusses compositional differences between whole fruit and processed 100% fruit juice and how both can align with health goals. Diets rich in (poly)phenols have been associated with reduced risk of various diseases. Coffee and tea are typically identified as good dietary sources of some of them, but it’s not as well known that 100% fruit juices can also be complementary sources of dietary (poly)phenols. The paper provides an overview of fruit (poly)phenols and their potential health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and neurocognitive benefits. 

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