Real foods are foods that have a single ingredient, unprocessed, unaltered foods made without chemicals or additives. Whereas processed foods are foods that have had their nutritional composition changed in some way. Processed foods include foods that have been cooked, canned, frozen, or packaged. Processed foods are foods that have undergone substantial modifications, moving them away from their original form.
This process removes nutrients from them, whitens them, combines chemicals and other unnatural additives. As a result, it looks, feels and tastes different from its natural form. Whole, nutrient-rich foods are not processed or minimally processed. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, fish and eggs are just a few examples.
In addition, research shows that people tend to overeat ultra-processed foods. Studies have shown that people who eat ultra-processed foods consume more calories overall and gain more weight, and are at greater risk of developing heart disease. Whole foods are considered “nutrient-dense,” meaning they contain a variety of nutrients, while highly processed foods are considered “empty calories.” Ultra-processed foods tend to be lower in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals and higher in salt and fat than whole, nutritious foods. This is important because frequent consumption of ultra-processed foods and beverages can harm overall health and increase the risk of diseases.
Adding heat, which is also a minimal process, makes many foods edible, such as potatoes and mushrooms. All you have to do is draw a BIG, CLEAR line between foods that have been lightly processed and heavy foods that are heavily processed. If your diet is currently rich in ultra-processed foods and you want to reduce it, start by focusing on one goal. Processed foods refer to any food that has been purposefully altered in a “food laboratory” in one way or another before consumption.
Processed foods can include foods that are canned, cooked, packaged, soaked, frozen, or modified in their nutritional structure, either by conserving them, fortifying them, fermenting them, or preparing them in different ways. On the other hand, diets rich in ultra-processed foods, such as fast food, candies and soft drinks, have been consistently linked to a higher risk of disease and a shorter life expectancy (17, 18, 1). In general, ultra-processed foods tend to have much more calories than minimally processed whole foods (. Some good examples of lightly processed foods include (but are not limited to) hard-boiled eggs, pre-cut apple slices, and frozen vegetables.
There are important differences between highly processed foods and minimally processed or unprocessed foods. However, highly processed foods, which are made from food-derived substances and additives, are generally not good for us. It categorizes foods into unprocessed or minimally processed foods, processed culinary ingredients, processed foods, and ultra-processed foods.