Here’s Why You Need To Avoid Ultra-Processed Foods
There are plenty of debates on how ultra-processed and processed foods impact our wellbeing. And this particular study from the Pan American Journal of Public Health underlines a serious concern. Obesity became more and more frequent nowadays, and many specialists believe this happens because of the lack of adequate nutrient intake. Hence, ultra-processed foods can make you predisposed to serious health issues. But what is even more concerning is that obesity affects more children than adults. So, if you are looking forward to gaining additional knowledge on this topic, read on to find out all you need to know about ultra-processed foods.
What types of processed foods are available today?
Unprocessed foods and minimally processed foods
- Unprocessed foods are the ones achieved from plants or animals without any human alteration done do them.
- Minimally processed foods refer to the fact that they might undergo specific processes like boiling or grinding, yet there are no additional ingredients added to them. As an example, you can think of frozen vegetables or fruits.
Processed culinary ingredients
· Processed culinary ingredients might refer to plant oils, honey, or maple syrup that require specific blending after the ingredients are harvested from nature.
· Processed foods are achieved by combining unprocessed foods with processed culinary ingredients. Hence, these require processes such as canning or pickling to increase the durability of the product.
· Overall, ultra-processed foods are the ones high in added sugars, salts, trans, and saturated fats. At the same time, these have a poor nutritional intake, and they can even trigger serious side effects in the body. Some of the most popular examples of ultra-processed foods are hot dogs, fish sticks, sausages, or any other fast food dish you can think of.
Why are ultra-processed foods bad for health?
Even though at first glance, it might seem like there is little to nothing to worry about, frequent intake of ultra-processed foods can lead to obesity and serious health risks. Several studies proved that this unhealthy meal plan could lead to one or more of the following issues:
- Overweight and obesity in both adults and children
- The risk of developing metabolic syndrome
- The risk of developing cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease
- The risk of developing cancer
- The risk of developing a food addiction
- The risk of experiencing depression and anxiety
How to replace ultra-processed foods in your diet?
No matter if you aim to implement a healthier lifestyle or you simply want to lose some weight, you should carefully read the label of the products you purchase. Making smart decisions when purchasing foods can only benefit your health. Some examples of how to swap ultra-processed foods with healthier versions include:
- You can change your sweetened breakfast cereals with homemade oatmeal. All you need is a bit of oatmeal and honey.
- You can replace flavored potato chips with DIY pita chips.
- You can replace white bread with homemade bread.
- You can switch from fried chicken to homemade roasted chicken.
- You can switch from energy drinks to freshly-squeezed orange juice.
- You can switch your flavored granola bars packed with preservatives with homemade granola.
What happens with your body when you remove ultra-processed foods?
You should know that when you remove such foods from your diet, you will feel like you lost something you were addicted to. And it is only natural to happen like this, as plenty of ultra-processed foods come with addictive ingredients. Besides this, you might notice the following symptoms:
- Fewer headaches and migraines, as the main side effect of eating ultra-processed foods, is a constant tension in your head.
- You will manage to lose weight faster.
- You will gain a healthier hair with less tendency of hair loss.
- You will feel more energized.
- You won’t experience any more mood swings.
- You won’t be so inclined to fall for cravings.
- You will benefit from improved sleeping habits.
- Your immune system will function adequately.
- You will boost your brain health.
The bottom line
You should know that removing ultra-processed foods from your diet won’t happen overnight. As mentioned above, such foods come with several addictive ingredients, which might make it difficult for you to remove them immediately. Our advice is to take your time to remove and replace ultra-processed foods with healthier dishes. Be patient with yourself, and become aware of the fact that it is normal to have difficulties implementing a healthier lifestyle.