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Ultra Processed Foods

We are learning more about how commercially available ultra processed foods can have detrimental effects on our health. This can include increasing the risk of bowel cancer.

Here is a simple checklist of how to identify if something is ultra processed:

  1. Does it have a long list of ingredients, including unrecogniseable names of chemical constituents, which include near the start sugars and salts? If you have to think what the ingredient name means or even have to look it up then you are handling an ultra processed food.

  2. Does it contain hydrogenated fats?

  3. Does it contain high fructose corn syrup?

  4. Does it contain additives in the ingredients such as gelling agents, emulsifiers,, flavour enhancers, sweeteners, artificial colouring and/or flavouring? Additives are designed to extend shelf life and make something look appetising. However many of these are not great for us to ingest too much of on a regular basis.

  5. Is it marketed in a package with a brand?

I never say to my health coaching clients to completely ban a food. However, I do help them to make better choices so that they increase the percentage of healthier choices and to understand the difference between whole foods and ultra processed foods.

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