What are ultra-processed foods? They aren’t just snack foods like potato chips, fizzy drinks, store bought fruit pies, and the like; they also include items such as frozen dinners, deli meats, instant noodles and sweets. A 2016 study described ultra-processed foods as follows:
Formulations of several ingredients which, besides salt, sugar, oils, and fats, include food substances not used in culinary preparations, in particular, flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers and other additives used to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations or to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/3/e009892
Whether you agree or not with the ideas and recommended diets in such films as the “Magic Pill” or “Forks over Knives” both films make it clear that a diet filled with ultra-processed foods are not good for anyone’s health, especially children. There is mounting evidence to support these beliefs.
A study in The British Medical Journal (BMJ) found:
“……examined representative dietary records of more than 100,000 French adults over a five-year period. They found that those who consumed more ultra-processed foods had higher risks of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease. These results remained statistically significant even after the researchers adjusted for the nutritional quality of the diet (considering factors such as the amount saturated fat, sodium, sugar, and dietary fiber in the diets). Although large observational studies do not prove cause and effect, the research does suggest an association between ultra-processed diets and heart disease.” https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-are-ultra-processed-foods-and-are-they-bad-for-our-health-2020010918605
What’s the appeal of such foods? “Such foods are attractive because they tend to be cheaper, are highly palatable due to high sugar, salt, and saturated fat content, are widely available, highly marketed, ready to eat, and their use-by dates are lengthy, so they last longer,” Nita Forouhi of the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge ….” Reints, Renae. Fortune.com. 2/11/2019, pN.PAG-N.PAG. 1p.
The appeal appears to be robust and clearly big money is involved – “the diet of families in the United Kingdom reportedly consists of about 50% ultra–processed foods; this number rises to almost 58% for Americans, according to a 2016 study”. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/3/e009892; Reints, Renae. Fortune.com. 2/11/2019, pN.PAG-N.PAG. 1p.
Think about this – a Harvard study revealed, “The healthiest diets cost about $1.50 more per day than the least healthy diets, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/healthy-vs-unhealthy-diet-costs-1-50-more/. We all know that saying “When you have your health you have everything”. Augusten Burroughs.
TIP: CHECK OUT THIS ARTICLE ON HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO ULTRA-PROCESSED FOOD: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/processed-foods-to-avoid#flavored-nuts