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The Impact of Ultra-Processed Foods on Your Health: What You Need to Know

Updated: Apr 1

Consuming a diet that is high in ultra-processed foods has been linked to various health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Therefore, you may want to limit the intake of these foods and focus on whole, minimally processed foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats for better overall health and well-being.



What is Ultra Processed Foods?

Leaving ultra-processed foods alone is crucial for maintaining good health and well-being. Ultra-processed foods have gone through multiple industrial processes, often containing high amounts of added sugars, salt, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives from who knows where. Today, we ask that you become more conscious about the foods you decide to place in your body. Understand where they are sourced from and grown. Don't you believe that you have a right to know this so that you can make informed decisions daily?



Examples of Ultra Processed Foods:

1.    Fast food like: Burgers, fries, pizzas, and other items from fast-food establishments that offer meals that are high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and salt are super ultra-processed foods by design.

2.    Processed meats: Hot dogs, sausages, bacon, and deli meats that often contain additives and preservatives.

3.    Breakfast cereals: Many breakfast cereals are heavily processed and contain added sugars, artificial flavors, and colors.

4.    Sugary drinks: Soft drinks, fruit-flavored beverages, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

5.    Convenience foods: Frozen meals, microwave dinners, and pre-packaged snacks like chips, crackers, and cookies.

6.    Packaged desserts like: Cake mixes, ready-to-eat cakes, cookies, pastries, and other sweets with high sugar and fat content fall into this category.

7.    Packaged desserts such as Cake mixes, ready-to-eat cakes, cookies, pastries, and other sweets with high sugar and fat content.

Fried Egg Burger
Ultra Processed (Fried Egg Burger)



5 Key reasons why you must consider avoiding or limiting the consumption of ultra-processed foods:


1)    Nutritional deficiencies: Ultra-processed foods are typically low in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Relying on these foods can lead to nutrient deficiencies, that may negatively impact your overall health.

a)    Consider a diet that consists of whole foods which are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These are crucial for our bodies to function properly, unlike processed foods that are often loaded with empty calories and unhealthy fats.

b)    Whole foods are beneficial in providing sustained energy throughout the day, unlike the sugar crash you might experience from processed snacks.


2)    Increased risk of chronic diseases: Regular consumption of ultra-processed foods has been linked to an increased risk of chronic conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain types of cancer. These foods often contain high levels of unhealthy ingredients like trans fats, added sugars, and sodium.


3)    Addictive nature: Ultra-processed foods are usually hyper-palatable, which means they can trigger cravings and lead to unhealthy behaviors like overeating. The combination of added sugars, salt, and unhealthy fats can create an addictive cycle, making it difficult to control portions.


4)    Disruption of gut health: Ultra-processed foods may disrupt the balance of beneficial gut bacteria, leading to digestive issues and potential implications for overall health.

a)    A fiber rich diet, abundant in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, keeps you feeling fuller for longer, aids in digestion, and promotes gut health.


5)    Environmental impact: The production of ultra-processed foods often contributes to environmental degradation due to the energy-intensive processes involved and the generation of packaging waste.




Instead of relying on ultra-processed foods to keep your engine going, we recommend that you do your best to focus on a diet that is rich in whole, minimally processed foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats as much as you can. These nutrient-dense foods provide the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are needed to support overall health and well-being daily. Wouldn’t you say that eating healthier by limiting or giving up ultra-processed foods is a smart and delicious way to invest in your health and well-being?



Professional Guidance:

If you need help deciphering ultra-processed foods on a higher level or making the change away from them, contact us over @ Nurture What Matters or purchase one of our recipe books or guides to help start you on your holistic wellness journey. We can also design a recipe guide specifically for your lifestyle.


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