For years, the term “junk food” has been used to refer to foods that are considered unhealthy and have low nutritional value. But junk can mean different things to different people.
Official dietary guidelines use more palatable terms such as “any food,” “sometimes food,” and “food high in sugar, salt, and fat.” After all, many fresh fruits are high in sugar and some salad greens are low in nutrients, but that doesn’t make them unhealthy. Also, foods such as “no added sugar” soft drinks and muesli bars fortified with nutritional additives are not necessarily healthy.
In 2009, suggested by experts Use the extent and purpose of industrial food processing as a key indicator of nutritional issues.
This theory recognizes that some food processing helps make food more convenient, safer and tastier. But it also named a class of foods called “ultra-processed foods” as unhealthy, based on more than their salt, fat and sugar content.
Mounting evidence now shows that consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with poverty human health (including rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity) and planetary health (Plastic pollution, excessive energy and land use, biodiversity loss).
But how can you find those foods when you’re planning what to buy or what to eat?
Ultra-processed foods are ruining our health and the planet
What are ultra-processed foods?
Ultra-processed foods are made using industrial processing methods and contain ingredients not normally found in the home pantry.
The processing methods used include: push outmolding, chemical modification, and hydrogenation (which can turn liquid unsaturated fats into a more solid form). Foods can be difficult to identify. A great place to start is the ingredient list.
There are two types of raw materials that classify ultra-processed foods: industrial food raw materials and cosmetic additives. Food substances include processed versions of protein and fiber (such as whey powder and inulin), maltodextrin (a highly processed carbohydrate), fructose or glucose syrups, and hydrogenated oils.
Cosmetic additives are used to improve the texture, taste, or color of food. They make ultra-processed foods more appealing and irresistibly delicious (and contribute to overconsumption). These include ingredients (including stevia), flavor enhancers (such as yeast extract and MSG), and thickeners and emulsifiers (which change the texture of food).
Ultra-processed foods such as cookies, chips, frozen foods and fast foods may contribute to cognitive decline
8 ultra-processed foods you may not be aware of
Ultra-processed food is more than just another name for junk. However, foods such as soft drinks, sweets, and potato chips are ultra-processed foods. There are many packaged foods that are considered ultra-processed and usually healthy.
1. Breakfast cereal
Many cereals and breakfast drinks advertised as healthy are ultra-processed. They can contain maltodextrin, processed protein and fiber, and color, while oats contain only his one ingredient: oats.
2. Protein bars, muesli bars and balls
Despite the healthy hype, many of these are ultra-processed and contain processed fiber and protein, invert sugar (sugars modified by industrial processes), and non-caloric sweeteners.
3. Plant-based “milk”
Many dairy alternatives contain emulsifiers, plant gums and flavorings. Not all brands are ultra-processed, so check the ingredient list. Some soy milks only contain water, soy, oil, and salt.
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Some packaged breads contain emulsifiers, modified starches (starches that have been industrially processed), and vegetable gums. These are usually cheap breads that are wrapped in plastic and sliced. Fresh bakery bread, on the other hand, is rarely ultra-processed.
Flavored yogurts often contain additives such as thickeners, non-caloric sweeteners and flavors. Choose plain yogurt instead.
6. Meal Bases and Sources
Cooked pasta and stir-fry sauces typically contain ingredients such as thickeners, flavor enhancers, and colorings. But simple sauces that you can make at home with ingredients like canned tomatoes, vegetables, garlic, and herbs are minimally processed.
7. Processed meat
Packaged cold meat may contain emulsifiers, modified starches, thickeners, and added fiber and is ultra-processed. Replace packaged processed meats with alternatives such as cold roast meats and chicken.
The method of making margarine and dairy-free spreads (by hydrogenating vegetable oils) and butter, which is essentially made of cream and salt due to the inclusion of additives such as emulsifiers and colorings Unlike, it is an ultra-processed food.
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But are all ultra-processed foods bad?
Some types of ultra-processed foods may appear healthier than others, with fewer industrial ingredients or less sugar. not.We know Australians consume the most 42% of their energy Food from ultra-processed foods and the cumulative impact of industrial ingredients on the overall diet are unknown.
Consuming ultra-processed foods may also replace nutritious fresh foods and dishes from your diet. a healthier and more sustainable diet. Although not exhaustive, online database Evaluate specific products to guide food choices.
Because supermarkets are dominated by ultra-processed foods, it can be difficult to avoid them completely. availability, allergies or dietary intolerances. We can all make positive changes in our diets by choosing less processed foods. You can also make laws for it. discouraging the purchase and consumption of ultra-processed foods.