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Processed Vs. Ultra-Processed Foods

One (of the many) reasons why the obesity epidemic has risen greatly is due to the ever-increasing ingestion of PROCESSED foods.  In actuality, the heightened use of ULTRA-PROCESSED foods has been the real culprit. 

First, let’s look at the distinctions in these categories:

  1. Unprocessed or minimally processed foods: This includes produce such as fruit, vegetables, milk, fish, pulses, eggs, nuts and seeds that have no added ingredients and have been little altered from their natural state.
  2. Processed ingredients: This includes foods that are added to other foods rather than eaten by themselves, such as salt, sugar and oils.
  3. Processed foods: These are foods that are made by combining foods from groups 1 and 2, which are altered in a way that home cooks could do themselves. They include foods such as jam, pickles, tinned fruit and vegetables, homemade breads and cheeses.
  4. Ultra-processed foods: Ultra-processed foods typically have more than one ingredient that you never or rarely find in a kitchen. They also tend to include many additives and ingredients that are not typically used in home cooking, such as preservatives, emulsifiers, sweeteners, and artificial colors and flavors. These foods generally have a long shelf life.

When you look at the ingredient sections of chips and frozen microwavable meals in the supermarkets, there are a number of chemicals present with names we cannot even pronounce.  These are clearly fitting the definition of “ULTRA-PROCESSED” foods.

It is not coincidental that the weight epidemic in this country parallels the growth of the Ultra-Processed food industry.  The dual working family unit has come to rely more and more on these types of foods given the speed of preparation and the relatively low cost.

Take a step back and analyze YOUR use of Ultra-Processed foods and ensure that you minimize/eliminate their ingestion.

And here is a tune that anyone around my age will remember…one about an Ultra Processed food…the Hot Dog….I bet you can remember the words to the commercial about Armor Hotdogs…

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