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Something to process

You may have seen a big article today in the news about the impact Ultra-Processed Foods are having on our health.


A study of almost 10 million people has been carried out which demonstrates Ultra-processed food is directly linked to 32 harmful effects to health, including a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, adverse mental health and early death.


Now, a lot of people went on the defensive arguing that ultra-processed food is more affordable, that people on lower incomes and the cost-of-living crisis means people aren't perhaps able to avoid ultra-processed foods.


But those figures are shocking, particularly the fact that for some people those effects could be prevented. The trouble is people look at a shock headline and either switch off or think that it can't possibly affect them.


Just last year I read Dr Chris van Tulleken's 'Ultra-Processed People' - nutrition advice is something that comes up with clients all of the time, but from my own point of view I am constantly learning about ways to improve my own health, so, despite this being a very heavy read, I persisted.


Ultra-processed food isn't just a banner name for ready meals or fast food meals - ultra-processed food is food that has been through multiple industrial processes; they have extra ingredients added such as emulsifiers, sweeteners, and artificial colours and flavours - none of which you'd be able to replicate in your own kitchen.


Ultra-processed foods are often lacking in fibre, but high in sugars, fat and salt - it's why they often have lengthy BBE dates and the lack of texture means they are consumed quickly which is why you never really feel satiated.


Interestingly the companies that make a lot of this food are able to make it cheaply by not using expensive ingredients which is why they have enough left over to market them as well as they do! When did you last see a big poster for an amazing bag of spinach to boost your iron levels? When did you see an advert on the telly for vitamin C boosting oranges? Or mushrooms with fabulous levels of vitamin D? You don't because they don't bring in the £millions!


Changes I made within days was to get rid/finish the 'low sugar' options of foods in my cupboard like Baked Beans, I use good old full-fat butter, cereal/oat bar snacks are gone and I have Nakd bars which are simply date bars with added fruit as my snacks, I buy the better bread because bread that lasts 10 days isn't going to be good for my insides if it can last that long.


As adults we're capable of making our own choices, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't consider making changes if it's to benefit our own health for years to come.

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