There has been a lot of commentary around this topic in recent years but the truth is, no you shouldn’t avoid packaged food. In fact, some of the best quality food comes in packaging.
For example, snap frozen Australian berries, frozen fruit, diced fruit and veggies, as long as they are Australian, can actually be better for you than the fresh food that you see upon the shelves. That is because to make the fruit and veggie aisle look more appealing, sometimes the food is coated in wax and preservatives. There may also be some pesticides left on the ingredients too.
Then of course some of the best lean meats are also packed in light packaging to keep them fresh as do some whole foods such as oats, rice and the like which are all really good for you. Typically fresh food won’t last as long as packaged food and although there is often a little salt included to keep it fresh, most people need a little sodium in their diet, so as long as you are not hypertensive or have heart disease which may require a modification to your diet, most people without those conditions will be fine.
I do find that blanket statements around “avoiding packaged food” can be a little narrow-minded and dogmatic, as for most people they are working 40–50 hour weeks, then they have a life and responsibility outside of their jobs. So for that 16 hours a day that they are awake, assuming they are sleeping 8, it is helpful for them to have easy access to fruit, veggies and other produce. Less than 7% of the Australian adult population consume the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables, so if we can get to the point where more people are meeting that number that would be great.
Obviously though, some packaged food is highly processed with a tonnes of preservatives and that type of food would be good to limit for your overall health, but in general. Packaged food is fine.
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About the Sports Nutrition Association
The Sports Nutrition Association, is an educational and governing body that is regulating Personal Trainers, Exercise Physiologists, Strength Coaches, Exercise Scientists, And Clinical Nutritionists looking to add Sports Nutrition & Supplementation Programming to their insured scope of practice.
The association exists to create best practices within the industry to try to stamp out the misinformation and dangerous advice that has so often been shared. They educate, accredit, regulate the profession, while also having a publicly available Sports Nutritionist database where clients can find their best sports nutritionist fit.