Here’s How Much Processed Food You’re Eating (and Why It Matters)


Processed food is a bad-for-you buzzword we hear all the time, but ultraprocessed is what we really need to worry about. Especially since a new study found that ultraprocessed foods make up more than half our daily calories and account for 90 percent of the added sugar we consume.

The “ultra” distinction is important because some healthy foods, such as Greek yogurt, multigrain bread, and frozen peas, are considered processed. Ultraprocessed foods, on the other hand, have added flavors, colors, or sweeteners.

The new U.S. dietary guidelines recommend that fewer than 10 percent of the calories we consume come from added sugars, but the participants in this study averaged closer to 14 percent. Added sugar typically gets broken down faster than the kind that naturally occurs in foods like fruit, so it leaves you hungry and wanting even more of the sweet stuff—a vicious cycle.

Everyone’s diet is different, but here’s an easy way to lower the amount of ultraprocessed foods and added sugars in your diet: Limit (or totally cut out) the number of sodas and sugary drinks you consume. They’re packing a lot more sugar than you think!

(h/t The Atlantic)

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