There are plenty of reasons to start cutting ultra-processed foods out of your diet, once and for all.
With new studies emerging left and right linking processed food consumption to cancer, chronic disease, and even death, the impact that these unhealthy ingredients can have on your health is absolutely astounding.
Eliminating your favorite salty snacks, sweets, and comfort foods from your diet sounds may sound pretty intimidating. However, with a few simple swaps, reducing your intake of processed products and adding more healthy whole foods to your meal plan is much simpler than it seems.
Let’s dive in and explore why these ingredients are so harmful to health, look at some common ultra-processed food examples, and discuss some easy strategies to start scaling back.
What are Ultra-Processed Foods?
The term “ultra-processed foods” was first introduced by a team of Brazilian researchers in 2018. They conducted a massive study in which they analyzed the diets of 104,980 adults and found that consuming a high amount of ultra-processed foods was actually linked to a higher risk of cancer (1).
According to the researchers, the definition of ultra-processed foods encompasses “food products made mostly or entirely from sugar, oils, and fats, and other substances not commonly used in culinary preparations such as hydrogenated oils, modified starches, and protein isolates.” According to their ultra-processed foods definition, this also includes products that have undergone “hydrogenation, hydrolysis, extruding, molding, reshaping, and pre-processing by frying” (1).
Food processing companies often add ingredients to alter the taste and