Ultra processed foods are foods that combine ingredients and which make use of additives such as sweeteners, colours, preservatives and flavours. Examples of foods that are considered ultra processed are, mass produced breads, sweets, snacks such as crisps, ready meals, chocolate, fast foods, sweetened drinks. They are foods that can be eaten quickly but which are highly satisfying to us.
Ultra processed foods are now not only big business but also highly convenient, quick to cook and eat, cheap to produce and buy, and they appeal to our taste buds. They often replace home cooked food and when looking at what we shop for, however healthy you try to be, you will find some form of processed foods in our diets.
A new study by scientists at the Sorbonne in Paris, with 104,980 participants, has shown that up to 50% of our diets are made up of processed foods and eating high levels of such foods has a link to increased instances of cancer. In fact they found that just a 10% increase in eating ultra processed foods could equate to a 12% over all increase in your risk of getting some form of cancer (BMJ.com)
The issue often is in developing countries, is that we now are time limited and the cost of food is a huge factor in what we choose to eat. Processed food can seem like a great way to feed families in a cheap and satisfying way, but as time is showing there are health implications to eating in this way.