edible longer. Canned fruits, fermented breads (which most breads are, as they’re made with yeast), alcohol, cheese, pickles, and salted nuts all make this list.
Finally, there are ultra-processed foods. These items are designed to be ready to eat and ready to heat at any time. To make that possible, these foods are often factory-made, broken down from their original form and infused with thickeners, colors, glazes, and additives.
They may be fried before they’re packed in cans or wrappers. They might contain high-fructose corn syrup, protein isolates, or interesterified oils (replacements for trans fats, which are now widely banned).
Examples include packaged granola bars, carbonated soft drinks, candy, mass-produced breads, margarine, energy drinks, flavored yogurt, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs.
These are the items researchers are referring to when they say that ultra-processed foods are linked to more cancer cases, early deaths, and substantial weight gain.
Of course, these items also tend to be more convenient and cheaper than less processed food, since they’re less perishable.
We understand that ultra-processed food are convenient but if you can afford it, cutting back on ultra-processed food is a good strategy for maintaining a healthy weight and staying disease-free for a long time.
Next step is making fresh foods just as accessible as the bad ones. Lawmakers, we’re looking at you.
Jasmine Browley holds an MA in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, and has contributed to Ebony, Jet and MADE Magazine among others. So, clearly, she knows some stuff. Follow her digital journey @JasmineBrowley.