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  #31   ^
Old Sat, Mar-02-24, 04:00
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Ultra-processed foods: 9 things you should never buy again

As another damning report blames eating these foods for a whole host of health issues, Peta Bee reveals the worst offenders


We all know by now that consuming too much ultra-processed food (UPF) is bad for us. Eating a lot of pre-packaged foods with long lists of unfathomable ingredients has previously been linked to obesity and a host of health conditions, but in the latest damning report published in the BMJ it is blamed for raising the risk of 32 harmful health outcomes including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and depression.

For the study, a team of international researchers led by scientists from Deakin University in Australia looked at data from previously published papers involving nearly ten million people. They found that those who regularly ate the most UPF were more at risk of conditions including type 2 diabetes and cancer, and were at a 21 per cent greater risk of dying young and a 50 per cent increased risk of dying from heart disease. A high consumption of UPF was also associated with more mental health disorders including a 22 per cent greater risk of depression, and about a 50 per cent increased risk of anxiety and poor sleep patterns. Among UK adults it has been estimated that 57 per cent of daily energy intake comes from UPF, with an even higher proportion seen in adolescents (66 per cent).

Compared with natural food, UPFs tend to be lower in nutrients, and can come packed with additives, colourings and preservatives, typically containing a minimum of five ingredients, some of which you might not even recognise. Dr Chris van Tulleken, author of Ultra-Processed People: Why Do We All Eat Stuff That Isn’t Food … and Why Can’t We Stop? (Cornerstone) and associate professor at UCL, says that if a food contains an artificial sweetener, it is, by definition, a UPF. “These sweeteners used to be limited to little sachets and diet soft drinks,” Van Tulleken says. “Now they’re in everything: breads, cereals, granola bars, ‘lite’ yoghurts, no-added-sugar ice cream, flavoured milk.”

But which foods are the worst offenders? Here, we list nine that should probably be left off your shopping list for good:

Sugary breakfast cereals
Sweetened breakfast cereals have long been on the naughty list because of their added sugar and low fibre content, with research at Queen Mary University of London showing that some cereals comprise one third of their weight or more from sugar, or 8 teaspoons per 100g. To this we should now add any breakfast cereal that is artificially coloured, shaped or flavoured, all of which suggest industrial processing. Stick instead to minimally processed and sweetened cereals such as porridge oats.

Ready meals
It is estimated that 90 per cent of the UK population eats ready meals, with two out of five eating them once a week. This is despite concerns about these UPF meals being high in salt, sugar, fat and additives. Last year a study from the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found sugar levels in ready meals to be significantly higher than in equivalent home-cooked meals. Researchers at Newcastle University and the University of Cambridge reported in Appetite journal that supermarket ready meals also tend to be “high in saturated fat and salt”. Cook from scratch if you can.

Shop-made cakes and biscuits
Branded, non-freshly baked cakes and biscuits can be low on nutrients but packed with additives, flavourings and preservatives — to say nothing of the fat and sugar content. Research at Queen Mary University of London published in the BMJ Open journal found 97 per cent of shop-bought cakes and 74 per cent of biscuits would get a “red” (high) label for sugar content, meaning they contain more than 27g sugar per 100g.

Processed meat products
Still buying ready-made sausage rolls, ham and bacon? Processed meat makes up about 30 per cent of the average meat intake per person in the UK despite compelling evidence that eating less of it will reduce the risk of bowel cancer, the fourth most common form of cancer in the UK. Processing meat often involves adding nitrites that have been shown to produce chemicals that damage DNA and increase bowel cancer risk. Health chiefs in the UK recommend consuming no more than 70g of processed meat a day, but better still is to cut these products out.

Vegan burgers
Switching to a plant-based diet does not mean that all the foods on offer are wholesome. Vegan “meats” and meat products are often highly processed, with salt and flavourings added. A survey by the charity Action on Salt showed that 28 per cent of all vegan meat products surveyed contained worrying amounts of sodium. Unless fortified with nutrients, vegan meat alternatives also lack the iron and B vitamins found in meat.

Processed ‘plastic’ cheese
Cheese produced by traditional methods provides valuable protein, calcium and vitamins including A and B12 and, in the case of fermented varieties, can be good for gut health. However, ultra-processed cheese slices typically contain only about 60 per cent of real cheese mixed with emulsifying agents and often other ingredients such as vegetable oils, extra salt, food colouring and sugar. Be sure to check packaged cheese labels.

Flavoured corn chips
Some plain salted snacks can be classed as non-UPF. But many varieties of corn tortilla chips, for example, do not resemble natural corn in the slightest. “Some of these corn chips are more highly processed than others, having been cooked in refined oils with artificial flavours and preservatives added,” says the dietitian Rhiannon Lambert, author of The Science of Nutrition (DK). “A 100g serving can contain nearly 30g of fat, over one third of the maximum daily amount.” If it tastes salty or highly flavoured, it is best avoided. A survey by Action on Salt found that a 45g bag of even a “healthy” brand of corn chips can provide 1.3g salt, more than a fifth of the maximum recommended daily intake.

Flavoured yoghurts
They may sound healthy but these products are often so intensively altered and refined that they no longer resemble natural yoghurt. Last year a survey by the Food Foundation found that 53 per cent of yogurts on sale contain four cubes or more of sugar per pot — the daily sugar allowance for children aged four to six is five cubes. Even some plain yoghurts veer into UPF territory if they contain thickeners such as pectin. So a good rule of thumb is that the further removed from natural yoghurt a product is in terms of taste and appearance, the more it is best left on the shelf.

Fizzy drinks
Lambert says that nearly a quarter of the sugar in our diets comes from sweet drinks, including squashes, cordials and fizzy drinks. Where the last fall down further is in other ingredients they contain, none of which contains much in the form of nutrients. Diet versions of fizzy drinks such as cola are equally ultra-processed, Van Tulleken points out. “As well as the sweetener Acesulfame K, caffeine, flavouring and colouring, it contains phosphoric acid, which rots teeth and leaches the minerals out of our bones,” he says. “Whether or not it’s a tiny bit better or worse than full-sugar [cola] is moot — they’re both terrible for your body.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/...ealth-bs3hv7qrf
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  #32   ^
Old Sat, Mar-02-24, 04:20
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
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However, ultra-processed cheese slices typically contain only about 60 per cent of real cheese mixed with emulsifying agents and often other ingredients such as vegetable oils, extra salt, food colouring and sugar.


This is the divide covered in the Ultra-processed People book. We can eat real cheese, though not to excess. But we can't really eat all that other stuff without consequences.

Yet, I would say that people who eat a lot of this manufactured food thinks it is cheese. But processed concoctions are what covers their nachos, cheesesteak subs, and au gratin potatoes.

Often, this makes a bad thing worse. But real cheese is far more satisfying, in lower quantities. They don't know what they are missing. And some of it would be a healthy part of the meal, instead of plastic that will give them problems.

Also, I see a LOT of added sugar and wheat, even in things that have no business in the recipe. Because, I'm sure, they know of these substances having tasty & addictive properties.

This was the author's distinction in the book. When he moved to homecooked, even things like lasagna became something the family could incorporate. It was part of how he lost the weight, and has been keeping it off.

Processed cheese is such a good example of the difference.
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  #33   ^
Old Sat, Mar-02-24, 05:03
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JEY100 JEY100 is offline
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Yes, processed cheese! and forever to my regret, the Blue Box Kraft macaroni and cheese I gave to my DD when she refused whatever real food was on offer.
I like this list…simple, straightforward what NOT to buy, though would be better with some options to replace the UPF.

Ps, FoodBabe is the US was after Kraft for years because they had 2 artificial dyes in the US version of Mac n cheese that were not in the UK version. Now I'm seeing side by side comparisons of ingredients in cereals and other UPF..sometimes the list in US is double the length. The UK/Europe ban a number of additives we throw in for no good reason (likely cheaper and sweeter) whatever…the US versions may be even worse.

https://foodbabe.com/food-in-americ...t-so-different/
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  #34   ^
Old Sat, Mar-02-24, 05:09
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEY100
The UK/Europe ban a number of additives we throw in for no good reason (likely cheaper and sweeter) whatever…the US versions may be even worse.


In the book, the author described getting a takeaway meal with only the ingredients he or his wife would have used. And I was amazed! I have never seen that.

However, our biggest local supermarket has brought in more takeaway meals in their deli counter that have been improved. Which is cheering news.

I think groceries should offer such "homecooked" meals as the author enjoyed in the UK. The problem isn't who cooked it. It's what they put in it.
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  #35   ^
Old Fri, Mar-08-24, 13:38
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Bob-a-rama Bob-a-rama is offline
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The problem is, where do we draw the line between processed and ultra processed.

Cheese and butter are processed cream.

Corn, broccoli, cauliflower, and so many others have been processed through the years by selective breeding.

Squash and strain tomatoes, add some herbs and spices, and you end up with processed tomato sauce.

On the other end of the spectrum we have Twinkies, Pop Tarts, and others.

Somewhere in between is a good line not to cross often. But exactly where is that? I suppose it's different for different folks.

I'm fairly strict about it, which is probably why I'm 65lbs or so down for so many decades.
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  #36   ^
Old Fri, Mar-08-24, 14:23
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Demi Demi is offline
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  #37   ^
Old Fri, Mar-08-24, 14:26
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JEY100 JEY100 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob-a-rama
The problem is, where do we draw the line between processed and ultra processed.

Cheese and butter are processed cream.

Corn, broccoli, cauliflower, and so many others have been processed through the years by selective breeding.

Squash and strain tomatoes, add some herbs and spices, and you end up with processed tomato sauce.

On the other end of the spectrum we have Twinkies, Pop Tarts, and others.

Somewhere in between is a good line not to cross often. But exactly where is that? I suppose it's different for different folks.

I'm fairly strict about it, which is probably why I'm 65lbs or so down for so many decades.


Dr Van Tulken's definition in post #1 and explained in his book is clear enough for me.

Quote:
For Chris, it’s simple: if it’s wrapped in plastic and has at least one ingredient you wouldn’t find in a home kitchen, it’s a UPF. If it makes a health claim on the packet? Ironically, it’s even more likely! A UPF is any food that’s processed industrially and created for big-business profit, rather than to provide nutrients. And here in the UK, UPF makes up 60 percent of the average diet.

Real cheese and butter are not UPF…Processed cheese food is. If the tomato sauce is only tomatoes and herbs it is not UPF, but with added starches or gums, it is.

Demi, the cartoon, I’m stealing it.
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  #38   ^
Old Mon, Mar-11-24, 15:38
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Bob-a-rama Bob-a-rama is offline
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I made the points to show both extremes.

Quote:
For Chris, it’s simple: if it’s wrapped in plastic and has at least one ingredient you wouldn’t find in a home kitchen, it’s a UPF. If it makes a health claim on the packet? Ironically, it’s even more likely! A UPF is any food that’s processed industrially and created for big-business profit, rather than to provide nutrients.


All food in the grocery store is there for big business profit.

That limits almost anything. My table salt has iodine in it (low extreme). I don't salt my food much.

I suppose the fresh fruit and veggies have been coated with something that isn't in a home kitchen to give them longer shelf life.

If your beef isn't organic, you are getting a lot of ingredients not found in your kitchen. Same for pork, fowl, veggies, and so on.

My thinking is that if you asked 10 different specialists where to draw the line between processed and ultra processed foods, you'd probably get 9 different answers.

And what makes Chris an expert? I don't mean to dis him, but looking him up on Wiki shows me that the brothers are more media people than practicing doctors. Of course that doesn't mean they are wrong.

What I'm trying to get out, is that there are no hard and fast borders to anything we eat. The proverb “One man's meat is another man's poison” comes to mind.

I for one, limit my consumption of processed foods, sugars, and starches. It is what works for me, and my health record is testament to that (one cold every 15 years, can't remember the last time I had any other illness, and I'm on zero prescription medications). But we are all different, it might not work for the next.

My advice (for what it's worth — I'm no expert) is that if you are going to read a book, read a dozen. Investigate each author for their experience and credentials, then try a few things until you find out what works for you. When trying different diets, refer to your doctor, who can prescribe blood tests and examine you to see how you are doing.

I wouldn't pick one author, even if he/she calls himself/herself a doctor and blindly follow his/her instructions.

Of course YMMV.

Bob
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  #39   ^
Old Mon, Mar-11-24, 23:13
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Calianna Calianna is online now
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You're right that there are no hard and fast rules for what makes something ULTRA processed.

You could technically call something like home-made mashed cauliflower an ultra processed food.

Hear me out on this: I buy the cauliflower, the butter, the cream cheese (some people use sour cream), salt, granulated garlic and onion powder.

The * in the following list of ingredients indicates every time some ingredient used to make homemade mashed cauliflower goes through a process that can result in that ingredient being considered an ultra processed food.

Unless the cauliflower is in season locally, it's been raised in some other part of the country - unless you live in an area that it never gets too warm for cauliflower to grow year round, it's been shipped, and shipping long distances* automatically signals that it could be ultra processed.

If it's fresh cauliflower, it's been harvested and packaged in plastic* to help protect it in shipment (of course it also has a brand name* and bar code or PLU code on that plastic packaging).

If frozen, it's been blanched* in a factory* to shut down the enzymes* that cause loss of flavor and color. Then it's chilled*, frozen*, packaged in plastic* with the brand name* on it, and shipped out to various locations around the country.


The dairy products all start with milking a cow, but then unless the milk has been certified safe as raw milk, it's been pasteurized*. From there, the milk is processed in a factory*: cream is then skimmed off to make the cream cheese or sour cream, as well as the butter.

The cream cheese is cultured, and has stabilizers and thickeners added to it. It's then packaged in foil or plastic* wrapping, and then in a box with a brand name* on it.

Sour cream is cultured in a factory*, and packaged in a plastic* container with a brand name* on it.

In a factory*, the butter is churned, washed, salted/left unsalted, formed* into sticks, wrapped in paper, and then packaged in a box with a brand name* on it.

Salt: depending on what kind you're using, it's been mined (regular salt, or naturally occurring colored salts) or using factory* processes had moisture removed from it (sea salt), may have had iodine added* to it, packaged in a factory* in a cardboard box, plastic bag* or bottle with a brand name* on it.

Granulated garlic and onion powder: both started as root vegetables. Both are then put through multiple factory* processing steps (such as sterilizing, chopping, dehydrating, grinding), ultimately resulting in a concentrated* and refined* (no skins) form of the original food. Then they're packaged in plastic* or glass bottles with labels* on them.

After I've steamed the cauliflower tender, I add all those processed ingredients (cream cheese, butter, salt, onion powder and granulated garlic), and use a stick blender to further process it into a smooth, seasoned mixture. (I then put the mashed cauliflower in a container for storage in the fridge, because there's no way I can eat all of it at one sitting)

Between all the processed and ultra-processed ingredients used in it, and the additional processing in my kitchen, it could easily be considered an ultra-processed food.


But wait! Since I made it at home, it's not considered to be an ultra processed food, because making it at home causes the taint of ultra-processing to be miraculously wiped away! (just like how homemade cookies are not ultra processed, purely because they're made AT HOME from the same ingredients as the ultra-processed packaged cookies bought from the store.)
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  #40   ^
Old Tue, Mar-12-24, 08:36
fred42 fred42 is offline
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It was many years ago I heard Nina Teicholz describe the tendency of our captured organizations to point to various bogeyman entities to divert attention away from carbs and vegetable seed oils. We all know the list: cholesterol, saturated fat, red meat, salt, simple sugars, overeating, lack of exercise, what time and how often you eat, etc. I suspect that is what is going on with UPF.
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  #41   ^
Old Tue, Mar-12-24, 08:43
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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I had to (metaphorically) go to Canada to get this list:

View Ingredients and Allergens
Big Mac Bun
Ingredients: Enriched wheat flour, Water, Sugars (sugar, corn dextrose, corn maltodextrin), Yeast, Vegetable oil (canola and/or soy), Vegetable protein (pea, potato, faba bean), Sunflower oil, Corn starch, Sesame seeds, Salt, May contain any or all in varying proportions: Wheat gluten, Potato starch, Dough conditioners (DATEM, ascorbic acid, enzymes), Natural flavour, Corn starch, Vinegar.

Contains: Sesame seeds, Wheat.
Beef Patty
Ingredients: 100% pure beef.

Lettuce
Ingredients: Shredded iceberg lettuce.

Big Mac Sauce
Ingredients: Soybean oil, Sweet relish (sugars [sugar, glucose-fructose, glucose syrup], cucumber, water, vinegar, salt, xanthan gum, natural flavours, calcium chloride), Water, Vinegar, Liquid egg yolk, Onion powder, Spices (including mustard), Salt, Sugar, Garlic powder, Extractives of Paprika, Propylene glycol alginate, Caramel colour, Hydrolyzed (corn, soy, wheat) proteins.

Contains: Soy, Wheat, Egg, Mustard.
Processed Cheese Slice
Ingredients: Cheese (milk, modified milk ingredients, salt, bacterial culture, calcium chloride, microbial enzyme, lipase, annatto), Modified milk ingredients, Water, Sodium citrate, Salt, Citric acid, Beta-carotene, Paprika, Soy lecithin.

Contains: Soy, Milk.
Onions (dehydrated)
Ingredients: 100% onions.

Pickle Slices
Ingredients: Cucumbers, Water, Distilled vinegar, Salt, Calcium chloride, Potassium sorbate (preservative), Aluminum sulphate, Natural flavour (plant source), Polysorbate 80, Extractives of tumeric (colour).

Grill Seasoning
Ingredients: Salt, Spice (pepper), Sunflower oil (used as a processing aid).

Where I've bolded everything problematic.

Click this link for the US version
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  #42   ^
Old Tue, Mar-12-24, 09:29
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doreen T doreen T is offline
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Default what's in a name?

Quote:
..... sugars [sugar, glucose-fructose, glucose syrup], ....

In the US, high fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose. In Canada, it's "only" 50% fructose, therefore called glucose-fructose ... as if somehow that makes it less awful
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  #43   ^
Old Tue, Mar-12-24, 15:03
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deirdra deirdra is offline
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US high fructose corn syrup being 55% fructose probably started off as a 'health' claim. In the 1990s fructose was glorified as being healthier because it is found in fruit and doesn't raise BG. Only later was it discovered to go to the liver and cause metabolic havoc there.
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  #44   ^
Old Tue, Mar-12-24, 18:34
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Calianna Calianna is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doreenT
In the US, high fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose. In Canada, it's "only" 50% fructose, therefore called glucose-fructose ... as if somehow that makes it less awful


Regular sugar is also 50% fructose and 50% glucose.

What a 50/50 high fructose corn syrup achieves is imitating the glucose/fructose proportions of cane sugar. That way it's no better or worse than real sugar.

The fact that it's liquid instead of granulated achieves the same cooking goal as the 55/45 high fructose corn syrup: as a liquid, it mixes into liquid or semi-liquid mixtures more easily than granulated sugar.


ETA: Sorry - I had accidentally quoted the wrong post!

Last edited by Calianna : Tue, Mar-12-24 at 19:02.
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  #45   ^
Old Wed, Mar-13-24, 04:16
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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Canadians still win the nutritrient reveal: In the US, they will give you pictures of the ingredients, and you will feel better about eating a Big Mac.

Though we shouldn't.
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