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It may be cheaper, but it is the worst type of food there is - voila! health


How do you identify ultra-processed food in the supermarket and why is it so bad for you? An expert explains why fast food can cause serious diseases and how to avoid it

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With a hand on our stomach, how many times in our lives have we indulged in a gourmet meal of flour soup, heated schnitzel and bought cake, straight from the microwave?

How many mornings do we and our children open with a bowl of cereal or with chocolate?

And what about ice cream on hot days?

Ostensibly these and other processed food products save time and money, but in fact when we consume them we cause ourselves health damage, which most of us are not even aware of.

This group of products is called ultra-processed products.

Foods and beverages that have been processed by industrial methods in order to improve shape, color and taste as well as to extend their shelf life.

The way to recognize them is simple: look at the label.

Products with added salt, sugar and fat are considered ultra-processed, but the longer the list of ingredients on the product and the less we understand what is written - the more processed the product.

Another indication is the external shape of the product: is it different from its "natural" shape?

Is it packaged in a tempting plastic package?

Is it quick to prepare?

Is this a food that also contains additives to improve the taste and appearance, for example plain yogurt with added sugar or sugar substitutes or breads with flavorings?

All these can indicate that you have chosen ultra-processed food.


Ultra processed.

Breakfast cereal (Photo: ShutterStock)

There are also components and processes that characterize ultra-processed foods, such as direct extractions from foods such as casein, lactose, whey and gluten;

Further processing of food ingredients, for example hydrogenation of oils, hydrolysis of proteins, extraction of soy proteins, sugar additives with various names such as maltodextrin and corn syrup rich in fructose, additives such as food colors, color stabilizers, flavor additives, flavor enhancers, sugar substitutes, processing aids such as Stabilizers, anti-sticking agents, anti-foaming agents, glazing agents, emulsifiers and moisture additives, as well as industrial processes that have no equivalents in home cooking, such as extrusion.

Let's take corn for example: if we take corn kernels and freeze them, we will eat natural food, if we buy it in a vacuum can, without any added sugar or salt - we will get food with minimal processing, the same if we make popcorn at home from corn kernels, but if we buy Popcorn for the microwave will be with added salt or flavored with butter or a salty snack based on corn and even frozen corn bites to prepare, the health damage we will cause to ourselves and our children may be greater.

Or, for example, we will take the boiled potato and make mashed potatoes from it at home - this will be minimal processing, but if we buy frozen chips or a salty potato snack - then we have turned the unprocessed into an ultra-processed one.

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Yogurt can also be a processed product (Photo: ShutterStock)

Don't feel bad, you are not alone in this.

According to a national survey on health and nutrition in Israel, the consumption of ultra-processed food constitutes about 35% of the total energy consumption among adults and about 50% among teenagers.

The data in Israel are even more encouraging compared to the situation in other countries in the world, where these products often make up the majority of calories consumed.

This is no less than a tragedy, because ultra-processed food causes severe and real damage.

In a professional review we conducted for the Ministry of Health, we discovered that the consumption of ultra-processed food is linked to many diseases, primarily overweight, especially among children and teenagers.

The children also tend to develop an addiction to larger amounts of food, because ultra-processed food contains flavorings and is produced from unique textures, which contribute less to the feeling of satiety and make you want to eat more of them.

For pregnant women, ultra-processed food consumption is associated with excess weight gain and diabetes and preeclampsia.

Ultra-processed food consumption is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

The second tragedy of our relationship with ultra-processed foods is that they are often cheaper because they are made from cheaper, less healthy ingredients.

That's why we see a particularly high consumption in population groups with a low socio-economic status.

Beyond the disadvantages of ultra-processed food per se, eating it will reduce consumption of healthy foods in their natural form, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.

Therefore, on your next visit to the supermarket, you should think not only about the price and convenience, but also about the effect of what we put into our bodies and our children's and choose foods in their natural form.

Dr. Siegel Eilat-Adar - Levinsky-Wingate Academic Center, Chairman of the Advisory Committee to the Ministry of Health

  • health

  • Nutrition and diet

  • Preventive nutrition


  • Processed food

  • Salt

  • Sugar

  • diet

Source: walla

All life articles on 2023-02-07

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