The Food Industry

The food industry has changed so much over the past hundred years but on the other hand, our bodies have not. With food becoming more and more processed our bodies are struggling to manage these foods. This has a knock-on effect of causing damage to our bodies including inflammation, heart disease and diabetes.

What are Ultra Processed Foods

Unprocessed foods include grains, herbs, fruit, vegetables, nuts, egg, milk, and spices. Ultra Processed foods are foods that have gone through numerous manufacturing processes and no longer resemble the unprocessed food that they came from. 

Here is an example:

You have an apple. You know as soon as you see it what it is and that there are no other ingredients. Therefore, foods such as fruits and vegetables do not have packing or labelling that includes an ingredient list. It is not needed as it is so obvious. 

An apple can be made into dried apple slices. This involves some industrial processes such as how it is dried but you can still recognise the original fruit from the slices and the vitamins and minerals can still be preserved.

Apples can be made into apple juice. This involves processes such as mashing, pasteurisation, and removal of unwanted scraps. It can even involve the water being removed for transport and then once the destination has been reached the water being added back in. This is the process that happens when the packaging says the juice is from concentrate.

You can make a dessert such as an apple pie or tart. This involves processes such as baking and mixing with other ingredients such as flour that have also been processed. 

Then you can have an apple-flavoured sweet. You can no longer recognise the apple. There probably isn’t any actual apple in there as the apple taste is from flavourings and the list of ingredients is very long with a lot of words that you do not recognise. The processes involved in making this sweet would be numerous and the result is a food that harms your health. 

Why Ultra Processed Foods are produced

Ultra Processed foods have been manufactured to be very appetising, be addictive and often require minimal cooking or effort. However, on the flip side, they also encourage overeating, increased portion sizes, and mindless eating and can even cause people to swap unprocessed foods for Ultra Processed foods. 

How to Identify Ultra Processed Foods

A sign that a food is Ultra Processed is to look at the ingredients list. Are there a lot of ingredients? Are there words you have never heard of or words you do not understand? Are the ingredients ones that you can find in your kitchen cupboard/fridge? Are there more than 4 or 5 ingredients?

How to Make a Change

Society has changed and now there are issues with lack of time, a decrease in culinary skills, the cost of food is rising and the food industry spends a lot of money advertising and promoting Ultra Processed food while simultaneously creating confusion about what is good for you. It can be difficult to know where to start. Why not look at your kitchen cupboards or fridge and try to make one small change at a time? For example, instead of buying canned soup why not make a soup yourself or with your partner, housemates or kids? It can be made in batches and kept in the freezer with the added bonus of passing on some culinary skills to others around you.

Check our Previous Blogs

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Ultra Processed Foods
EAT Healthily

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