It may surprise you to hear that not all processed foods are bad for you.
Frozen vegetables for example are processed, retaining all the original nutrients if not more thanks to advanced processing technologies. Milk and yoghurt are also processed, yet they remain close to their natural form.
It is not the general processing of foods that makes them ready for consumption but rather a nutritional problem, rather it is ultra-processed foods that we need to reduce in the diet.
Ultra-processed foods are highly engineered, contain many ingredients, and are generally very different from the original food they come from.
Cheese, for example, is very different from cheese, as french fries are very different from potatoes. In these examples, food manufacturers add extra flavors, sugars, fats, and often chemicals to produce entirely new food, foods that are rarely healthy.
Specifically, it is a highly processed food that has been linked to weight gain and lifestyle diseases including type 2 diabetes.
There are also a host of ultra-processed foods that masquerade as relatively “healthy” options but a closer look at how they are made, and the ingredients they are made from will reveal that they are not always as healthy as they are perceived. .
Plant foods are naturally given a healthy aura with the perception that “milk” that comes from nuts, legumes or oats should be healthier than animal foods.
But the truth is that fully plant-based milk is highly processed to produce a milk-like product that comes from foods that don’t actually produce milk.
A quick check of the ingredient list for your favorite nut or cereal milk will reveal if it’s a list of additives including sugars and oils that turn nuts or grains into a milk-like food. Additives such as protein and vitamins are then added back into the mix. Less in fat and calories yes, but less processing no.
A relatively new addition to the baking aisle, rolls are lighter in look and feel than regular bread, and thus are often interpreted as healthier alternatives to sliced bread, but this is not the case.
It takes significant physical processing to turn a bean into a flat white shell, concentrating the naturally occurring carbohydrates and stripping the bean of some of its natural nutrient content. In fact, whole-grain and whole-grain varieties are better than white rolls but certainly not better nutritionally than a dense grain loaf.
Located in the healthy foods section of supermarkets, you might be forgiven for assuming that your pet’s go-to for an after-gym snack is a healthy choice.
But a quick scan of the ingredients list is likely to reveal a long list of ingredients, many of which you may not recognize.
Concentrated protein isn’t overly palatable, which means it needs a bunch of additives to make it not only taste good, but turn it into an edible bar, bite, or ball. The source of the protein may be a protein bar, which is a natural, unprocessed food.
Meat is not meat
If you prefer to avoid animal foods, meat substitutes made with wheat gluten, vegetables, soybeans, and protein powders can be a nutritious food choice.
But they can also be ultra-processed foods designed to look, taste and feel like meat, chicken, fish, or any other animal protein minus any of the natural nutrients like protein, zinc, and iron that you find in animal protein.
It can also be packed with added oils, sugars, salts, colors and flavor enhancers which doesn’t mean it’s always technically “healthier” than the meat itself.
The bright colors and veggie bases may scream all things healthy, but there’s not much about healthy commercial dips.
Sure, if you’re making hummus at home or mashing it yourself and turning it into the jack, your dip is minimally processed but common supermarket tubs are full of vegetable oils, flavors, stabilizers, and colors to give a flavorful blend that may be both flavorful and flavorful. It is somewhat similar to capsicum, eggplant, or beetroot, albeit in a super processed form. Combine them with ultra-processed white rice crackers and you’ve got a super-processed snack mix.
author Suzy Borrell He is a leading Australian Dietitian and Dietitian, and founder of formalco-hosted feeding sofa audio notation and a prominent media speaker, with regular appearances in both print and television media commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss, and nutrition.
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