Can you eat sausages, preserves and other processed foods? the doctor answers
Alina Krasikova May 30, 2023, 17:40 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
We will tell you what should be excluded from the diet once and for all.
general practitioner, family doctor at VSK Digital Clinic
Processed foods are becoming more popular and affordable. Despite this, its use entails a series of negative health effects.
What are processed foods? What applies to them?
They are food products that have gone through various industrial processes, including changing their natural state, adding ingredients, processing, and preserving. They typically have a longer shelf life and are readily available in packets.
Broadly speaking, processed foods include the following categories:
meat products: sausages, ham, frankfurters, bacon, meat preserves and meat products;ready meals and semi-finished products: canned soups, pizzas, prepared pastas, breads and snacks;canned foods: canned fruits and vegetables, canned delicacies;breakfasts and cereals: muesli, cereals, cereal-based breakfasts, quick cereals;confectionery: cookies, chocolate, candies, cakes, snacks and other sweets;sandwiches and chips: French fries, potato products, corn sticks, and other salty snacks;drinks: carbonated drinks, juices with added sugar, sugar-sweetened drinks, and energy drinks.
What is your damage?
1. Processing processes, such as milling, extraction, and the addition of preservatives, can cause the loss of many beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Processed foods are often high in sugar, salt, and saturated fat, making them low in nutritional value.
2. Consumption of processed foods is associated with increased risk of various diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer. This is due to the high content of added sugar, salt, trans fat, and artificial additives in such products.
3. Processed foods often contain “empty” calories with no nutritional value, which can lead to irregular eating and poor eating habits. They make you feel full for a short time, which can lead to overeating and weight problems.
4. Some processed foods contain fewer natural ingredients and more artificial additives, colors, and preservatives that irritate the digestive system. This can manifest itself in the form of discomfort, swelling.
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Added harmful chemicals are also in its composition. Artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners can cause allergic reactions.
5. Due to their high salt, sugar, and saturated fat content, processed foods can be addictive and addictive. Over time, this will lead to overconsumption of these foods and the development of poor eating habits, further exacerbating their negative effects.
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is recommended to limit your consumption and prefer fresh, natural and nutrient-rich foods.
What should I pay attention to when buying?
Ingredients are listed in descending order of their amount in the product. Therefore, if added sugar, salts, saturated fats or artificial additives are at the top of the list, this may indicate a high content of these components in the product. The amount of added sugar and salt in the product. Its high content can be indicated by various names, such as sugar, syrup, honey, dextrose, saline, or sodium salt. Try to choose foods low in these additives.
The content of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners in the composition of the product. They can be identified by codes or names such as E numbers or names of specific additives. Avoid products with excess of such additives. The presence of trans fats in the composition. They are usually present in foods that contain hydrogenated oils or vegetable fats. These substances can raise bad cholesterol levels and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Look for foods that contain more natural and unprocessed ingredients, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, natural oils, and protein. They are rich in nutrients and more beneficial for health.
What can replace them?
Choose fresh fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds, and whole grains to provide your body with beneficial nutrients and fiber. Instead of carbonated drinks, drink plain water. Cooking at home allows you to control the ingredients and quality of the products. This allows you to choose natural and fresh ingredients and avoid additives and preservatives.
Instead of buying prepared meals and convenience foods, try cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients. This will allow you to control the amount of salt, sugar and fat, and add more nutrients to your diet. When choosing products in the store, read the labels and labels. Look for foods that contain less added sugar, salt, and artificial additives. Also look for foods that are rich in nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Strive to eat mindfully. Buy foods that provide nutrients to your body, instead of those that quickly satisfy hunger. Do not be lazy and study the information indicated on the labels.
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How to define a natural product?
There is no single answer here, as there is no single standard or legal definition of this concept. Generally speaking, “natural” foods are those that have undergone minimal processing and contain a safe amount of artificial additives.
Here are some signs to look out for when identifying a natural product:
Read the ingredient list on the product packaging. Natural foods often have a short list of mostly natural ingredients, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and natural oils. Additives, colors, flavors or artificial preservatives should alert.
Choose foods that do not undergo extensive processing, such as hydrogenation (modification), refining, and the addition of artificial ingredients. Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, organic meat and poultry, whole grains, plain dairy products, and oils are considered more natural. Research the brand and reputation of the product. Well-known and trusted manufacturers usually meet high standards of quality and naturalness in their products.
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