The term "processed food" describes a large variety of foods that have been changed from their original form. These foods fall on a spectrum of minimally processed foods to extremely heavily processed foods; they can either be beneficial or detrimental to the human diet.
Processed foods can be beneficial for the human diet if consumed properly. Milk, bagged vegetables, roasted nuts, or canned fruits or vegetables are generally healthy and can add necessary nutrients to the human diet. However, heavily processed foods, such as some cereals, cookies and crackers can be harmful. These foods often contain high concentrations of sugar and salt.