This Is The Ultra-Processed Food I Never Eat

According to a 2017 article in the journal Population Health Metrics, nearly 60 percent of the calories in the average American diet come from ultra-processed foods, raising concerns among health experts.

“Ultra-processed foods contain ingredients that we wouldn’t normally find in our kitchens, and they’re often high in sugar and salt,” says Jinan Banna, a registered dietitian and professor of nutrition at the University of Hawaii.

“They can also contain additives and are often stripped of their nutritional value. So they can contain very few vitamins and minerals [and] fiber.”

According to doctors from the American Medical Association, eating highly processed foods can lead to a higher risk of developing health problems such as dementia, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

That’s why Banna limits her consumption of ultra-processed foods and encourages you to do the same. Here are the highly processed foods she never eats.

‘I would never drink soda,’ says dietitian

“Some [ultra-processed foods] “I would never drink soda,” Banna tells CNBC Make It.

“Soda has no nutritional value, except calories in the form of sugar. So they are empty calories, which do not give us the nutrients we need.”

When you drink soda, it gets digested very quickly and can make you hungry, she adds, which can lead you to eat more than you intended.

Instead of soft drinks, Banna opts for different types of tea and water, still or sparkling.

“Sometimes I’ll drink a cold hibiscus tea. Plain water is a great alternative, of course,” she says. “Even coffee can be an option, of course, but in moderation.”

Recent research shows that diet sodas and other ultra-processed beverages are the most processed foods Americans consume.

A recent preliminary study presented last week at an annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition carefully examined dietary data collected in 1995 from more than 500,000 Americans between the ages of 50 and 71. The data were used to determine whether there were links between dietary choices and death rates over a period of nearly 30 years.

Of the 124 foods, ultra-processed beverages were the most commonly consumed food by people who ate the most ultra-processed foods.

“Diet sodas were the leading contributor to ultra-processed food consumption. The second was sugary sodas,” Erikka Loftfield, lead author of the study, told CNN.

Beverages make up a significant portion of food intake. So, these types of beverages — such as diet sodas and energy drinks — are the processed foods that people seem to consume more than others, Loftfield said.

The study also found that people who eat a lot of processed foods could have their lifespans shortened by more than 10%, CNN reported.

Use the 5/20 rule when reading nutrition labels

As a rule of thumb, Banna recommends using the 5/20 method when checking the nutrition labels on the foods you eat.

“You can use the daily value,” she says. “It’s an easy way to tell if the food in general is high or low in a particular nutrient.”

Check the percentage daily values ​​of specific nutrients such as sodium, sugars or saturated fat, Banna advises.

“The idea is, if [it’s] 5% or less, then the food is generally low in that particular nutrient. If it is 20% or more, you can consider the food high [in the nutrient],” she says.

“It’s just a quick way to look at the label and know whether a food has a little or a lot of the substance.”

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