When lizzo says the food is ready!

When lizzo says the food is ready

What are processed foods?

Processed foods usually contain high levels of added sugars.

The term “processed food” can cause some confusion because most foods are processed in some way.

Mechanical processing — such as grinding beef, heating vegetables, or pasteurizing foods — does not necessarily make foods unhealthful. If the processing does not add chemicals or ingredients, it does not tend to lessen the healthfulness of the food.

However, there is a difference between mechanical processing and chemical processing.

Chemically processed foods often only contain refined ingredients and artificial substances, with little nutritional value. They tend to have added chemical flavoring agents, colors, and sweeteners.

These ultra-processed foods are sometimes called “cosmetic” foods, as compared with whole foods.

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
Are processed foods bad for you?

Ultra-processed foods tend to taste good and are often inexpensive.

However, they usually contain ingredients that could be harmful if consumed in excess, such as saturated fats, added sugar, and salt. These foods also contain less dietary fiber and fewer vitamins than whole foods.

Below, we look at seven reasons why processed foods can increase the risk to a person’s health.

 Added sugar

Processed foods tend to contain added sugar and, often, high fructose corn syrup. Added sugar contains no essential nutrients but is high in calories.

Regularly consuming an excess of added sugar can lead to compulsive overeating. It is also linked with health conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and inflammatory diseases.

Processed foods and beverages are among the major sources of added sugar in the diet. Sweetened beverages are a particularly significant source; people tend to consume much more sugar than they realize in soft drinks.

Cutting down on added sugar — by drinking sparkling water instead of soda, for example — is a quick and effective way to make the diet more healthful.

 Artificial ingredients

The ingredients list on the back of processed food packaging is often full of unrecognizable substances. Some are artificial chemicals that the manufacturer has added to make the food more palatable.

Highly processed foods often contain the following types of chemicals:

  • preservatives, which keep the food from going bad quickly
  • artificial coloring
  • chemical flavoring
  • texturing agents

Also, processed foods can contain dozens of additional chemicals that are not listed on their labels.

For example, “artificial flavor” is a proprietary blend. Manufacturers do not have to disclose exactly what it means, and it is usually a combination of chemicals.

Official organizations have tested most food additives for safety, though the use of these chemicals remains controversialTrusted Source among doctors and researchers.

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