Processed foods are those which are not in a natural state and some kind of changes has been done in it. Although some food needs processing, not all processed foods are harmful.
Ultra-processed foods are those that are chemically processed and are high in sugar, trans fat, refined carbohydrates, and artificial substances. Because of this addition, they are unhealthy and prone to spread illnesses.
What is processed food?
Actually, foods are processed in different ways. Some are processed in mechanical ways and others using chemical processes.
Processed foods are those that are changed from their natural state deliberately before we have them.
Mechanical processing is not unhealthy unless it is chemically added. Some examples of mechanical processing include heating vegetables, pasteurizing food or grinding beef, etc.
On the other hand, chemical processing is done by adding extra chemical flavouring with refined substances and artificial ingredients to make food more delicious and favourable. This kind of food is referred to as cosmetic foods.
Some examples include:
- Packaged bread
- Breakfast cereals
- Processed cheese items
- Frozen or ready meals
- Baked foods
- Crackers and chips
- Ice-creams and candy
- Instant noodles and soup
- Several sweetened beverages
Is ultra-processed food harmful to your health?
Usually, ultra-processed stuff is delicious to eat and more expansive than that of normal food.
They are constituted of artificial ingredients and added flavours that can be harmful to your health, if consumed excessively. This kind of food contains saturated fats, salt, added sugar, and also contains less amount of vitamins and fiber as compared to whole foods.
Following are the factors for why ultra-processed food items are harmful:
Added sugar: Added sugar is rich in calories and if consumed excessively various diseases can affect you like obesity, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, etc. Ultra-processed food contains added sugar in order to make it more delicious.
Artificial chemicals: If you can see the ingredients' list on the backside of any processed food items then you'll see several unrecognised ingredients. These are the artificial substances that are added.
Refined carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are quite essential for your body functioning but refined carbohydrates can be quite dangerous. Refined carbohydrates can cause several health diseases like increase in blood sugar and insulin levels.
Trans fats: Ultra-processed foods are constituted of cheap fats called trans fat which can result in inflammation, and increase LDL level in your body. Consuming excess trans fats can lead to diabetes, various heart diseases, and stroke.
Here are some ways to detoxify yourself from highly processed food:
Start gradually: If you are consuming a high amount of highly processed food, then try to lessen it slowly.
Have fresh foods in the meal: Try to add some fresh organic fruits and vegetables in your meal; maybe a banana or an apple can be good for you.
Avoid having sugar-added sweetened beverages: Have fruit juice instead of excess sugar contained drinks.
Opt for whole grains: Have brown rice in place of white rice, have whole-grain bread rather than white bread. It can make a lot of difference.