Ultra-processed products have become present in our diet over the last few decades. For this reason, it seemed right to dedicate an article to this delicate subject. Today, we will explain to you what these particular foods are and we will try to warn you about the dangers of their consumption.
You need to do everything possible to eliminate the ultra-processed products from your food routine, for many reasons. The well-being and balance of your body depend, to a large extent, on what it takes with food. As you will see, these foods contain a series of elements that can damage health and favor the onset of problems and even very serious disorders.
First of all, we will help you understand what ultra-processed foods are so that you can recognize them and, therefore, avoid them.
Ultra-processed products: everything you need to know
It is common that there is some confusion between processed and ultra-processed foods. In fact, both terms are often used as if they were synonyms, although there are very many differences between them. To help you distinguish them, just keep in mind their main features and peculiarities:
- Processed foods. They are products to which certain components that are in nature have been added or eliminated. It can be said that they retain their natural properties, but with some subtle changes.
- Ultra-processed foods. In this case, we are talking about foods that have been artificially created with the sole purpose of being able to be consumed directly. Thus, these are all those industrial preparations based on derivative substances. In common they have an enormous amount of fat and sugar, so they are particularly harmful to health.
When you think of ultra-processed products, fast-food and pre-packaged snacks come to mind. In reality, this name includes many more products, including carbonated soft drinks, white bread, processed meats, sweet dairy products, pre-packaged fruit juices …
What are the dangers?
Ultra-processed products are really harmful to health. At the same time they are increasingly consumed all over the world, obviously with serious medium and long-term consequences for human health. Let’s see what are the most serious consequences of taking these foods:
- Many calories and few nutrients. The main disadvantage of ultra-processed products is that they contain a large number of calories. On the other hand, practically none of their components are healthy as, for example, vitamins, proteins or minerals could be. The calories of these foods are called “empty” because they do not contribute to the nutritional enrichment of the human body.
- Fats, sugars, hydrates. These three elements are those that generally make up most of the ultra-processed foods. They are responsible for the high rates of obesity and overweight, increasingly on the rise in our society. Also, don’t forget that excess weight problem ends up leading to others that are more harmful to your health and often even lethal.
- High salt content. All ultra-processed foods contain high salt content. Sometimes, the quantity is so high that a ration of a product of this type supposes to ingest half of the recommended amount of salt for a whole day. Therefore, these types of foods are not recommended for people suffering from hypertension. Their consumption suggests an increase in blood pressure levels in the medium and long term.
How to stop consuming ultra-processed foods?
Eliminating the ultra-processed products from the diet is really difficult. The first thing is to be aware of how harmful they are and the consequences they have for your health. As you have seen, the diseases derived from the consumption of these products are really harmful.
Stopping taking ultra-processed foods is also complicated because this type of products already exceeds 20% of those ingested by the average man, every day. In some countries such as England, this figure increases up to 50%: a truly frightening figure.
Another striking factor is that ultra-processed products are very attractive. So eliminating them from the diet is more complicated than other types of products. This is due to the fact that most of them are processed from carbohydrates, which are rapidly absorbed. The feeling of hunger, therefore, is temporarily subsided and reappears soon after, pushing for further consumption.
The advice we can give you is to stop taking ultra-processed products as soon as possible, following these 3 basic steps:
- Avoid eating out of the house. Most ultra-processed products are consumed outside the home, especially in fast food establishments.
- Increase fruit and vegetable consumption. They are satiating foods, healthy and provide a multitude of nutrients to the body. They are also one of the healthiest snacks par excellence.
- Learn to identify ultra-processed products. They are driven by advertising, packed in a flashy and colorful way, often presented specifically to attract children’s attention. Read the nutrition tables of the labels and you will see some good ones.