Hi!, I’m Dr. Joanne Gordon. I specialize in Hormones and Regenerative Medicine. Today, I wanted to talk to you about Ultra-Processed Foods (UPFs). First, what are “Ultra-Processed Foods”? UPFs are low-nutrient foods that underwent multiple stages of processing to be prepared. They contain added ingredients and are manipulated beyond their natural state. Foods that are Ultra-processed include ice cream (dog gonnit!), soft drinks, chips, chocolate, candy, many breakfast cereals, packaged soups, breads, energy bars, chicken nuggets, hotdogs, sausages, fries and more. These foods contain additives and have a longer shelf life because they contain preservatives. Most of us know these foods aren’t good for you.
But Why Are They So Bad For You?
Studies show that the more processed foods you eat, the more likely you’ll get sick and die. No joke. Research shows that the more UPFs you eat, the greater your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. UPFs alter the gut microbiome. We have billions of bacteria in our gut and when bacterial balance gets disrupted it increases inflammation, stimulates overeating and promotes chronic disease. Those who eat a diet high in processed foods generally eat 500 more calories a day than someone eating a whole foods diet.
How do you know if a food is ultra-processed? UPFs contain a long list of ingredients and have artificial flavors, added sugars, preservatives, flashy packaging and may even boast health claims. Make sure to read the ingredient list. If you see unfamiliar words, chances are the product is ultra-processed.
The bottom line: Eat a whole foods diet. Cut out processed breads, dairy and sugar. Eat healthy fats and lots of vegetables. I know it’s not easy, but I’m cheering for you and know you can do it if you put your mind to it!