In time past, food consumption was based on natural plants, picked directly from farms and only undergone minimal processing such as removing inedible parts, cooking, drying, preserving, filtering, and pasteurishing. These foods have no negative effects on the human system, they nourish and build up the body. Advancement in technology has led to the processing of foods into various groups. There has been recent production of ultra-processed foods. Every mart is stocked up with thousands of ultra-processed foods.
What Are Ultra-Processed Foods?
Ultra-processed foods are food products that contain additives such as artificial flavors, emulsifiers, coloring, sweeteners, and preservatives. They are made up of high levels of saturated fat, salt, and sugar which when absorbed lead to detrimental health issues. These food products are produced to be cheap and affordable, making them easily accessible in nearly all supermarkets.
Examples Of Ultra-Processed Foods
Getting acquainted with the examples or list of ultra-processed foods will help in identifying them for those who do not fully comprehend the meaning.
Examples include soda, burgers, fries, chips, candies, snack cakes, noodles, cereals, ketchup, ice cream, mass-produced packaged bread, pastries, margarine, spreads, cocoa drinks, fruit yogurts, meat extract, chicken extract, pizza, hot dogs, sausages, distilled alcoholic drinks (such as whisky, gin, rum, and vodka).
Are There Possible Health Benefits From Ultra Processed Foods?
According to research, ultra-processed processed foods do not generate health benefits compared to minimally processed foods albeit they render fewer advantages which are:
1. Long-Life Shelf: The preservatives used in ultra processed foods enable it to last longer making it readily available in time of emergency.
2. Quick Energy: Ultra processed foods give quick and easily digestible energy.
3. Safety Of Food: The additives and extensive processing techniques used in ultra-processed foods help prevent illnesses food borne.
Health Risk Associated With Consuming Ultra Processed Foods
Frequent intake of ultra processed foods leads to health risk such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer . These can cause untimely death.
Ultra Processed Foods Risk Of Depression In Women
According to a recently conducted research, Consuming a high quantity of ultra-processed foods could increase the risk of depression in women. Information from USA Today reveals the result of a study conducted to examine the diet of nearly 32000 middle-aged female nurses as stated: “Those who consumed over nine portions a day had about a 50% higher risk for developing depression than those consuming four portions or less”. This indicates that high consumption rapidly increases health risk.
Recent proven experimental data shows that artificial sweeteners evoke purinergic transmission in the brain, possibly leading to the development of depression.
Dr. Andrew T. Chan, an immunology and infectious diseases professor at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, when Interviewed by USA Today said “Ultra-processed foods have long been linked to chronic inflammation, which has been linked to depression. He added that changes in the gut microbiome caused by consuming ultra-processed foods may be linked to depression”.
This research has shown that women are vulnerable to health risks as a result of high consumption of ultra-processed foods.
Drink Consumption Risk Of Depression In Women
As stated earlier distilled alcoholic drinks (such as whisky, gin, rum, and vodka) are examples of ultra-processed foods and could lead to depression in women. According to a report from the journal JAMA Network, consumption of artificially sweetened beverages could increase the risk of developing depression in women. Alcoholic drinks can disrupt hormonal balance triggering or worsening mood disturbances and depressive symptoms.
With all the views, comments, experimental studies, and research, it will be advisable for women to reduce the intake of ultra-processed foods and limit drink consumption or if possible stop absorbing any of these into the body to endure long life and vitality.
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