The Dangers of Ultra-Processed Foods

Credit: Consumer Reports

They taste good now, but taste isn’t what you’ll be thinking about later.

Processed foods, more specifically ultra-processed foods, aren’t popular for any health qualities, if they exist at all. However, when you’re at work holding a cup of coffee you’ve managed to accept as the only thing you’ll be having for breakfast and your coworker brings in a box of assorted freshly baked doughnuts, you’ll probably end up hating yourself at the end of the day. But you might want to hold off picking up that frosted sprinkled doughnut for a moment.

Recent research has discovered that people who consume more ultra-processed foods are at a higher risk of cancer. You might ask, “but aren’t all foods processed at some point before it reaches our mouths?” No, they aren’t. There are fresh fruits and veggies and foods that don’t even touch a blade; the only processing that gets done is in our bodies. Then there are the foods that sound healthy, like canned soups which contain artificial flavors, emulsifiers, and additives. And then there are the ultra-processed foods, which contain much more calories, sodium, and sugar.

Research has also showed that individuals who consume mostly ultra-processed foods tend to be more over-weight and obese. They are more likely to have diabetes or have some sort of heart and circulation problems, and eating a lot of processed foods, such as hot dogs, have been affiliated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

So instead of picking up that sugary doughnut or even avoiding food in general, pack yourself a bag of fresh veggies and fruits like celery sticks or apple slices. One of the most important priorities you should have for yourself is to have a balanced and diversified diet this year, so go for it.