Ok, so don't fall off your seat just yet. We know that most food needs some degree of processing, and not all processed foods are bad for the body; however, there is a huge difference when we talk about chemically processed foods, also called ultra-processed foods. These ones you should avoid at all costs. We will tell you why right away…
Super-processed foods tend to be high in sugar, artificial ingredients, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats. In other words, many diseases and illnesses. So, let us explain to you more why you should avoid these foods and how doing it will help you feel healthier in no time.
Chemically processed foods
Chemically processed foods often only contain refined ingredients and artificial substances, a.k.a little to none nutritional value. Instead, they are rich in chemical flavoring agents, colors, and sweeteners. Remember that red, sticky dust left in your fingers after eating a bag of Cheetos? That's a chemical flavor agent.
Some examples of ultra-processed foods include:
- frozen or ready meals
- baked goods, including pizza, cakes, and pastries
- packaged breads
- processed cheese products
- breakfast cereals
- crackers and chips
- candy and ice cream
- instant noodles and soups
- reconstituted meats, such as sausages, nuggets, fish fingers, and processed ham
- sodas and other sweetened drinks
Processed foods vrs. Whole Foods
All these foods listed above usually contain ingredients or components that could be harmful if consumed in excess, such as saturated fats, added sugar, addictive chemicals, refined carbohydrates, refined vegetables oils and seeds and salt. These foods also contain less dietary fiber and fewer vitamins than whole foods.
Whole foods are generally characterized as foods that have not been processed, refined or had ingredients added to them. Whole foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, meat, fish and eggs.
On the other hand, the removal of nutritional components in processed food also makes them harmful. This practice leaves food nutritionally deficient and high in calories. That’s not the purpose of eating. Food is not only our fuel to have energy, it's also medicine.
The removal of nutrients can change the pathway of digestion and overconsumption of calories, often causing you to gain weight.
The vitamins and minerals that characterizes whole foods are what makes our body function. While eating more whole foods and not too much processed foods, we protect our bodies against chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Whole foods are foods that are either not processed at all, or just a tiny bit processed. Like for example whole grains, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables. Think foods that don’t need labels listing a million different unpronounceable ingredients. It's that simple!
Nutritious foods (not supplements) are the best foundation for optimal health and designed by nature, whole foods give us all the nutrients we need without any additives. Replacing processed and animal-based foods with more plants generally means more fibre and less saturated fat. This can have a great impact on your overall health but also means a lowered risk of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
What does Waku recommend? Focus on foods and beverages that are in, or close to, their natural state when you buy them and consume them.