Ultra Bad Foods to Ultra Avoid
We try our best to eat healthily - but in supermarkets, petrol stations and just about everywhere there are sneaky, seriously-damaging traps: ‘Ultra-processed’ foods
Ultra-processed foods are shocking for you, your brain and your moods.
As studies have shown, swapping processed foods for a fresh Mediterranean diet can reduce negative feelings - and a whole host of physical ailments.
But dodging these manufactured good can be tricky… here’s what to know:
WHAT IS ULTRA-PROCESSED?
At its simplest, processed food is any food that has been altered during the manufacturing process. There are loosely four categories:
- Unprocessed: plant foods such as fruit and veg
- Processed ingredients: including oils, flour and sugar
- Processed: when unprocessed foods are cooked with processed ingredients, such as to make bread or canned vegetables
- Ultra-processed: designed for longevity and often reliant on preservatives and additives to preserve shelf-life as well as to improve the flavour
Some of the most common ultra-processed offenders include: pastries, cakes and biscuits, crisps, soft drinks, breakfast cereals, sausages and reconstituted meat products, and packaged pre-prepared meals.
5 WAYS TO AVOID ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS
- One of the major signs that food might be ultra-processed is the number of ingredients. If there are more than five ingredients it’s safe to assume that it might be ultra-processed.
- Unrecognisable ingredients which are, more often than not, additives. While they are usually safe, the effects of others are less known.
- While it’s important to look out for high sugar and fat content, other ingredients to look out for in ultra-processed foods are casein, lactose, whey, and gluten, as well as hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup.
- Always be wary of ‘fresh’ food that has a long shelf life - check the label for preservatives such as sodium benzoate, nitrate and sulphite, BHA and BHT.
- Marketing is a subtle indicator of whether food might be ultra-processed. Unprocessed or minimally processed foods often come with little to no packaging so it’s worth pausing to look at the overall presentation of the product.
Happy non-processed shopping!
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