What are Ultra Processed Foods List?

What are Ultra Processed Foods List

Ultra processed foods

Foods that can be placed on the ultra processed foods list include chips, soft drinks, instant noodles, fast food burgers, candy, hot dogs, store-bought ice cream, chicken nuggets, breakfast cereal, energy bars, and packaged bread.
Ultra processed foods have become a budding health concern. So, it is best to know these foods categories so as to curtail their consumption. Several researches have established that ultra-processed foods pose a serious health issue when taken regularly. A 2018 report revealed a connection between ultra processed foods and a high risk for cancer.
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Recently, another study established an association between high eating of ultra-processed food with an early or untimely death.
In this article, we examined in details:
  • What are ultra processed foods?
  • Ultra processed foods list
  • Differences between processed foods and ultra-processed foods
  • Why ultra processed foods list is unhealthy
  • How to limit ultra processed foods

What are Ultra processed Foods?

Ultra processed food involves ingredients and additives such as preservatives, artificial flavors, added sugars, stabilizers, and others.
Ultra-processed food is a word invented by Carlos Monteiro, Professor of Nutrition and Public Health for the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Monteiro and his research team in 2009, were able to established a linked between the global rise in obesity to unsafe practices in food production.
This led Monteiro to structure a classification system called NOVA that classifies all foods by their degree of processing. He came out with four groups namely:
  • Unprocessed or minimally processed foods
  • Processed culinary ingredients
  • Processed foods
  • Ultra-processed food and drink products
According to Monteiro’s 2016 NOVA report, ultra-processed foods may come in flashy covering and purported health assertions on labels. Most people patronize ultra-processed foods due to the convenience since they are mostly ready-to-eat foods and require little or no preparation to be edible. Also, highly processed foods are cheap.

What are Ultra Processed Foods List?

Monteiro made an extensive list of ultra processed foods list examples in the NOVA report. Items that can be found on the ultra processed foods list include:
  • Instant noodles
  • Soft drinks
  • Fast food burgers
  • Packaged bread and buns
  • Chips
  • Candy
  • Hot dogs
  • Store-bought ice cream
  • Boxed cake mix
  • Infant formula
  • Flavored yogurt
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Energy bars
It is understandable for soft drinks to be included in the ultra processed foods list. However, others like flavored yogurt or breakfast cereal come as a surprise to be on the list of ultra-processed foods. It is best to go through the list for on Monteiro’s NOVA report to better comprehend it.
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What is the Difference between Processed Foods and Ultra Processed Foods?

Processed and ultra-processed sound similar, but the “ultra” in the latter makes them different. For a food to be termed processed, it means it has passed through a transformation. Processes like pasteurizing, canning, smoking, and drying are all ways foods can be processed.
When foods are ultra-processed, it means processed foods undergo another form of transformation or change by including additives such as colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, and added sugar.
Examples of processed foods include canned fish, salted nuts, plain yogurt, canned vegetables, canned broth, smoked meats, plain yogurt, tofu, and cheese. These foods can be healthy when consumed moderately. However, they become harmful when ingested in excessive quantities.

Why Is Ultra-Processed Food Unhealthy?

Ultra-processed foods are mostly consumed in excess quantities due to their eye-catching packaging and appearance. These foods contain empty calories, deficient nutritional value, and are high in salt, added sugar, and saturated fat.
According to the dietary guidelines of USDA, it is ideal to ingest no more than 10% of your daily calories from added sugars and saturated fat, and sodium intake at less than 2,300 mg per day. The body recommends that most of our calorie intake should come from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins.
So, it means, consuming a diet high in ultra processed food makes it impracticable to meet the USDA’s daily recommendations. So, you will be deficient in vital nutrients if you always consume more of the items on the ultra processed foods list.

How to Limit Ultra Processed Foods List

Monteiro’s NOVA report advises people to completely avoid the consumption of items on the ultra processed foods list. However, the problem is ultra-processed foods are almost everywhere. You should try meeting your daily recommended consumption of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals as recommended by USDA’s Dietary Guidelines.
When shopping, go for fresh produce including whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Instead of patronizing fast-food, learn to cook your meals; this will help you cut down your ingestion of ultra-processed foods.

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