How ultra-processed food items contribute to various health issues
Heavily processed or ultra-processed foods are those that contain empty calories and are often high in sugar and low in fiber and protein. These food items are less filling and are associated with obesity. Consuming lots of such food items can raise your blood sugar and cholesterol levels and even lead to cancer and depression. Read on to know how they affect your health.
- Ultra-processed foods are rich in processed sugar, flour, salt, and oils.
- Processing is done to improve the appearance of the food and to make it hyper-palatable.
- During the processing, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants are removed. Due to these changes in chemistry, these foods cause extreme swings in the blood sugars and oxidative damage to the cells and ultimately give rise to many diseases.
Also called cosmetic foods, ultra-processed food items change the food's natural state as they contain refined ingredients and artificial substances that have little nutritional value. These foods usually contain chemical flavoring agents, sweeteners, stabilizers, and colors. Some examples of ultra-processed foods are baked items like pizza, pastries, cakes, sweetened drinks, instant noodles, breakfast cereals, candies, ice creams, chips, crackers, and frozen or ready meals.
Ultra-processed foods usually contain heavy amounts of sugar or high fructose corn syrup which makes them calorie-rich and bad for your health. Excessive consumption can cause health problems like type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory diseases. These foods are loaded with refined carbs, trans-fat, and artificial ingredients including preservatives, texturing agents, and chemical flavoring, which pose a serious threat to your health.
According to research, people who indulge in ultra-processed food items are more likely to get obese and develop the risks of heart diseases, vascular diseases, and diabetes. According to a study, for each 10% increase in the intake of ultra-processed food, there was a 12% rise in overall cancer risk. These foods are known to lead you to overeat causing weight gain.
You can swap sweetened yogurt for plain yogurt. Try to swap frozen pizza for homemade pizza with healthy toppings of veggies and chicken. Avoid drinking soft drinks and swap them with lime-infused water or mineral water. Ditch sugar-loaded breakfast cereals and opt for rolled oats. Replace potato chips with air-popped popcorn. Protein bars are overhyped and unhealthy, instead, eat mixed nuts for snacks.