- Processed and ultra-processed foods can lead to overeating and are associated with certain medical conditions.
- But nutritionists say it can form part of a balanced diet in healthy amounts.
- Two nutritionists shared the processed and ultra-processed foods they eat on a regular basis.
Processed and ultra-processed foods are now in the spotlight as there is growing evidence that they can adversely affect our health.
Definitions of these foods vary, but processed foods generally include anything that has been modified in some way before reaching the grocery cart, including pasta, cheese, oats, and canned tomatoes.
ultra processed foodOn the other hand, soft drinks, prepared frozen foods, candy, etc. usually contain ingredients such as added sugar, flavor enhancers and preservatives.by NOVA scaleAlthough we classify foods based on their level of processing, ultra-processed foods typically don’t look like their raw materials and are made in ways that can’t be replicated in a home kitchen, such as hydrogenation.
Eating a lot of processed and ultra-processed foods increases your risk of developing symptoms such as: cancer, dementiain the same way gain weight faster, and premature death. The link isn’t fully understood, but scientists think it depends on how certain it is. Processed and ultra-processed foods interact with hormones, But they are not all created equal. For example, milk that has been pasteurized to remove bacteria would be less harmful than something like highly processed meat.
In this way, the registered dietitian Marissa Arnone and Taylor Grasso A healthy diet can include processed and ultra-processed foods, he told an insider.
“The poison is in the dose,” Grasso said.This means too much of anything “healthy food, is bad for the body.she said 80:20 ratio By consuming whole foods and processed foods, you can keep a healthy diet in mind while preventing food obsession.
Whole foods can be expensive and hard to come by depending on where you live, so properly processed and ultra-processed foods can actually be a great way to get calories and nutrients cheaply and conveniently. Such food is very easy to prepare, even for those who have little time to cook.
Grasso and Arnone told insiders that they want to encourage their clients to include the processed and ultra-processed foods they typically eat as part of a balanced diet.
Arnone recommended Check nutrition label See if your product has a healthier alternative with less added sugar and salt.
canned and frozen fruits and vegetables
Mr. Grasso frozen fruits and vegetables They are often much cheaper and last much longer than fresh produce. Manufacturers sometimes add sodium, fat and sugar to make their products taste better, but be careful with the additions, she said.
ready-made sauces and pesto
“If you make your own pesto or sauce from scratch, the cooking process can take 10 to 15 minutes, which is not realistic for many American lifestyles,” says Arnone.
Rather, she really likes ready-made sauceBecause they allow people to prepare the majority of their meals from whole foods, while having the convenience and guaranteed deliciousness of ready-made sauces.
dark chocolate and chocolate bars
Dark chocolate, especially bars with a high cocoa content, contain a lot of antioxidants, says Grasso. Antioxidants help prevent or slow cell damage and are associated with a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of disease. coronary artery disease.
For those who aren’t fans of dark chocolate, I recommend bars marketed for people with allergies or intolerances such as soy or wheat. This is because they are less processed and likely contain fewer ingredients.
Arnone said breakfast cereals don’t look like the grains they’re made from, but they may actually have nutritional value. supplement with vitamins and minerals It gets mixed into the product during processing. So again, a good addition to a balanced diet on busy mornings.
On nights when Arnone doesn’t feel like cooking, she buys a plain cheese pizza from the grocery store and adds her own chopped veggies to make a quick and easy “pretty well balanced” meal.
frozen breakfast sandwiches
Although typically ultra-processed, frozen breakfast sandwiches can be part of a healthy diet.Grasso encourages clients to add avocado for healthy fat Add spinach or arugula to turn your sandwich into a balanced meal.
She said you shouldn’t eat these sandwiches every day, but they can be a great option when convenience is a priority.
Arnone said she usually eats easy-to-buy pre-workout snacks, like fig bars and granola bars, to keep things handy.
Granola bar Since it’s mostly carbs, Grasso recommends pairing it with protein and fiber-rich foods like Greek yogurt and apples for breakfast. This helps maintain blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling full and satisfied for longer.