The consumption of processed foods, such as ready-to-eat meals, baked products, and processed proteins are harmful and can have adverse health effects. Consuming highly or extensively processed foods can result in weight gain and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, among other negative health outcomes.
The majority of foods require some level of processing, and not all processed foods are detrimental to health.
Chemically processed foods, also referred to as ultra-processed foods, are typically high in sugar, artificial ingredients, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats. Due to this, they are a significant cause of obesity and disease throughout the globe.
The term “processed food” can be confusing because the vast majority of consumables are processed in some manner.
Foods that undergo mechanical processing, such as grinding beef, heating vegetables, or pasteurisation, are not necessarily unhealthy. If food processing does not involve the addition of compounds or ingredients, it does not typically diminish the food’s nutritional value.
However, mechanical processing and chemical processing are not identical.
Some examples of ultra-processed foods include:
frozen or ready meals, baked goods, including pizza, cakes, and pastries, packaged breads , processed cheese products , breakfast cereals , crackers and chips , candy and ice cream , instant noodles and soups , reconstituted meats, such as sausages, nuggets, fish fingers, and processed ham , sodas, and other sweetened drinks.
Most ultra-processed foods taste good and are usually cheap.
But these processed foods generally have things in them that could be bad and harmful for you if you ate too much of them, like saturated fats, extra sugar, and salt. Also, these foods have less fibre and vitamins than whole meals. More than 100,000 people took part in a large study that found that eating 10% more ultra-processed foods was linked to a rise of more than 10% in the chance of heart disease, coronary heart disease, and brain disorders.
Replace ultra-processed foods with whole foods like grains, nuts, seeds, lean meats, fruits, veggies, and beans to rebalance the diet or make it healthier.