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The current paper dwells on a number of issues connected to the processed food industry. A variety of influences are reviewed and critically appraised within the framework of this in-depth discussion. The implications of processed food on human health, the environment, and the economy are deliberated. The key concepts regarding the harmful nature of processed foods and the major reasons for UAE residents to consume fewer processed foods are covered in the last section of the paper.
The Impact of Processed Foods on Human Health
The problem with processed food consists in the fact that it lacks numerous essential nutrients that are required for proper digestion. For instance, grain cannot be properly digested in the form of refined white rice as it lacks the fiber that can be found in its original form, brown rice. Another issue that may arise due to processed foods is a faster release of sugar into the bloodstream (Moubarac et al., 2012). This increased sugar significantly limits the number of minerals and vitamins that can be transferred to the vital organs of the human body. It is a well-known fact that blood sugar can be regulated by biotin and thiamine; the core mission of these two active factors is to transfer glucose to the mitochondria, which is the energy center of a human body cell.
However, these active factors are unable to accomplish their mission successfully if a person eats too many processed foods. In perspective, by eating overly refined foods, an individual is depriving him or herself of the elements that help the human body function properly and provide its organs with indispensable nutrients (Monteiro, Moubarac, Cannon, & Popkin, 2013). Regardless of the documented adverse impact of processed foods, one should be aware of the fact that rare or infrequent consumption of processed foods does not significantly affect the human body. The problems mostly arise when processed foods are incorporated as a major regular presence of the diet. Another point to consider is that a gluten-free diet does not harm the human body. This positive outlook should be perceived as a warning because obesity is often caused by processed foods that elicit a strong desire to overeat (Baker & Friel, 2014). Indeed, a sensory-oriented strategy is one of the core principles of the food industry.
The Impact of Processed Foods on the Environment
Another major problem with processed foods is the fact that every stage of processed food manufacturing has a significant impact on the environment. These stages typically include food processing, packing, transportation, supply, and marketing. The biggest concern regarding processed foods is their high potential for environmental pollution. On a bigger scale, the diversity of the food industry imposes a number of complications on its manufacturers (Krimsky, Gruber, & Nader, 2016). One of these complications is an uncontrollable amount of various types of waste, which can, in turn, become the source of serious ecological problems linked to waste disposal and consequent environmental pollution.
Moreover, because processed food manufacturers tend to ignore the essential recovery methods, such waste leads to a situation in which valuable biomasses are critically damaged, and vital nutrients are lost. Indeed, the problem with processed foods consists of the fact that waste treatment procedures are insignificant, and almost nothing has been done to minimize the amount of hazardous waste or modernize the processes of bioconversion and reutilization (Heldman & Hartel, 2012). Such processes as bioconversion are designed to reduce the impact of processed foods on the environment, but currently, such reduction cannot be accomplished due to poor waste management practices. The companies that operate in the food sector should carefully review their policies and recognize the global impact that processed foods have on the environment.
The Impact of Processed Foods on the Economy
Growth in the economic sectors of a number of countries all over the world has been supported by the development of the processed foods industry. Currently, processed foods majorly contribute to worldwide GDP and international financial development. Despite its positive connotation for the economy, numerous complications have transpired due to weak policies and regulation of the processed foods industry, as well as increased costs of agriculture (Friel et al., 2013). The economic benefit of the processed foods industry consists in its investment opportunity and income growth. The public demand for processed foods has grown unconditionally, and so has the economic stability of the processed foods industry. This supposition is supported by the fact that this business sector attracts foreign investors and boosts local economies to previously unthinkable dimensions.
It is also important to mention that the processed foods industry has not reached its full potential due to numerous failed investment projects and the subsequent negative effects on the supply chain (Brennan & Grandison, 2012). This aspect of the industry is inextricably linked to complex organizational protocols and actions that should be taken in order to accomplish the corporate goals. The diversity of economic complications created by the processed foods sector has to be addressed by means of a multi-layered approach that takes into account the demands of various stakeholders (Frantzen, 2012). Regardless, following the economic needs of the processed foods industry is questionable, and they’re still exist certain constraints that prevent the manufacturers from revealing the potential of this industry. Considering the growing global demand for processed foods, these companies have to improve their pricing strategies, invest in supply chains, and develop new waste management strategies. Because the food industry is quite competitive, its economic implications have to be taken seriously within the context of the existing complexities inherent in the industry-consumer relationship (Dorfman, 2014).
All UAE residents should realize that processed foods are damaging to the body and the environment, and they should try to eliminate them as soon as possible because these products make them overweight and unhealthy. It is no secret that heart disease and even different types of cancer may be caused by the industrialization of the food business. By reducing the consumption of processed foods, the Emirati people will cut healthcare costs and learn to make smarter choices when it comes to their daily nutritional patterns. There is no critical reason to continue consuming processed foods; these products are simply designed in such a way that they decompose slowly over time. Moreover, by consuming fewer processed food products, the Emirati people will normalize their intake of sugar, oil, and salt.
To this end, it is essential to revert to whole grain products because white flour is associated with the consumption of empty calories. The Emirati should also take into consideration the fact that soy and corn ingredients, which are common to processed foods, do not contribute to a healthy and varied diet. Reducing the consumption of processed foods will lead to a healthier lifestyle, weight loss, and improvements in nutritional intake. One does not have to completely refuse to consume processed foods, but instead, one should carefully compose a custom diet that includes both whole foods and their processed counterparts.
Baker, P., & Friel, S. (2014). Processed foods and the nutrition transition: Evidence from Asia. Obesity Reviews, 15(7), 564-577. Web.
Brennan, J. G., & Grandison, A. S. (2012). Food processing handbook. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Dorfman, J. H. (2014). Economics and management of the food industry. New York, NY: Routledge.
Frantzen, K. A. (2012). Risk-based analysis for environmental managers. Boca Raton, FL: Lewis.
Friel, S., Hattersley, L., Snowdon, W., Thow, A., Lobstein, T., Sanders, D.,… Walker, C. (2013). Monitoring the impacts of trade agreements on food environments. Obesity Reviews, 14(4), 120-134. Web.
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Heldman, D. R., & Hartel, R. (2012). Principles of food processing. New York, NY: Chapman and Hall.
Krimsky, S., Gruber, J., & Nader, R. (2016). The GMO deception: What you need to know about the food, corporations, and government agencies putting our families and our environment at risk. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing.
Monteiro, C. A., Moubarac, J., Cannon, G., & Popkin, B. (2013). Ultra-processed products are becoming dominant in the global food system. Obesity Reviews, 14(2), 21-28. Web.
Moubarac, J., Martins, A. P., Claro, R. M., Levy, R. B., Cannon, G., & Monteiro, C. A. (2012). Consumption of ultra-processed foods and likely impact on human health: Evidence from Canada. Public Health Nutrition, 16(12), 2240-2248. Web.