Nutrition is not always a clear concept, with different diets and advice clashing with each other. One of the most controversial topics is that of ultra-processed foods: some claim that they are bad for your health and should be avoided at all costs, while others suggest that this type of food has potential when it comes to providing a balanced diet. In this article, we’ll explore five little-known ultra-processed foods that might not be as bad for you as you think! We’ll look at their nutritional value and explain why these foods might benefit your diet.
Ultra-processed foods are often demonized because of their composition, but not all!
Ultra-processed foods are often criticized for their complex and potentially harmful composition. However, it is important to note that not all products of this type are necessarily bad for our well-being.
Indeed, the notion of ultra-processed foods encompasses a wide spectrum of industrial items, ranging from snacks and prepared meals to soft drinks and other sweet desserts. These food products undergo many transformations during their manufacturing process, including mixing, grinding, heating and adding various ingredients. Among them, some, such as emulsifiers, colorings, artificial flavors and preservatives, raise doubts as to their safety of use and their influence on human health.
It is indisputable that excessive consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Several scientific studies have shown that these products tend to be high in sugar, salt, saturated fat and chemical compounds, while being low in vitamins, minerals, fiber and other essential nutrients.
However, it is important to mention that not all ultra-processed foods are created equal!
It is however true! this position should be qualified by recalling that not all ultra-processed foods are necessarily harmful. For example, some pasteurized dairy products, industrial breads and fruit juices with no added sugar are considered ultra-processed foods, but they can still have good nutritional qualities and contribute to a balanced diet. Other items, such as energy bars and protected shakes, are often consumed as part of a sports routine and can, in this case, offer a nutritional contribution adapted to the specific needs of athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Even more, if you discover that these 5 ultra-processed foods can be eaten as part of a balanced diet. Here they are !
Although processed and often maligned, fish sticks can be a source of protein and omega-3s. When they are made with quality fish and their breading is not too greasy, they can be integrated into a balanced diet. However, it is important to opt for this type of fish and to favor a healthier method of cooking such as putting them in the oven instead of frying them. In particular, for those who do not appreciate the strong taste of fish or those who eat less.
Bread, which can be found in supermarkets, bakeries or grocery stores, is generally considered ultra-processed due to the additives and preservatives it contains. However, bread can be a source of complex carbohydrates, fiber and essential minerals, especially when made from wholemeal or semi-wholemeal flours. In order to choose a healthier bread, take the time to read the labels and favor the breads with the shortest list of ingredients.
Although can be found in canned or prepared form, baked beans can be a source of protein and fiber. They also contain B vitamins and minerals, especially iron and magnesium. To preserve their nutritional quality, it is best to choose baked beans with a low sugar and salt content, and to consume them in moderation.
Breakfast cereals are often criticized for their sugar content and lack of nutritional value. However, there are minimally processed cereal options that are high in whole grains, fiber, vitamins and minerals. By choosing unsweetened cereals with simple ingredients, it is possible to enjoy their nutritional benefits without consuming excessive amounts of sugar.
Liquid or powdered baby milk:
According to Professor Gunter Kuhnle, this product cannot be defined as an ultra-processed food. It is designed to meet the specific nutritional needs of infants, providing the proteins, vitamins and minerals essential for their growth and development.
In Quebec, as in the United States, this tendency to consume infant formula among adults remains marginal and has mainly been observed among extremists in terms of bodybuilding or intense sports training. They are convinced of the effectiveness and benefits that regular consumption of this type of milk could bring them.
Despite the debates on this subject, no scientific evidence has supported the nutritional benefits that adults can receive. However, whether in liquid or powder form, baby milk can be consumed as part of a balanced and varied diet.