Harvard Men's Health Watch

Not all processed foods are unhealthy

Don't be misled by well-intentioned advice. Some processed foods offer nutritional value and convenience.

Nutrition gurus often urge us to spurn processed foods in favor of whole ones. But not all processed foods are necessarily bad. "Most food needs to go through some sort of processing for it to even be edible and digestible," says Stacey Nelson, a registered dietitian and manager of clinical nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. "The minute you cook something, you are processing it."

Instead of writing off all processed foods, Nelson advises men to start reading food ingredients to assess the item's nutritional value. "Ignore the marketing claims on the front of the package, flip it over, and go right to the list of ingredients," she says.

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