Processed foods: what they are and why they could be bad, here is a study that leaves no doubts

Processed foods: what they are and why they could be bad, here is a study that leaves no doubts

Processed foods are those foods that are processed and then packaged and characterized by a rather long shelf life.

Many know (but some pretend not to know) that proper nutrition and adequate physical activity are necessary to have iron health. In short, a correct lifestyle.


Regarding nutrition, we often look at the composition and nutritional quality of a food. In fact, the way it is processed is also an aspect to consider because it could have health effects. The cooking method is indicated on the label. So knowing how to read and understand this would help consumers make a more informed choice.

Processed foods: what they are and why they could be bad, here is a study on the matter

Processed foods (from English processed food) are those foods that undergo any type of treatment or processing so that they last longer. This includes freezing, canning, adding salt, sugar or additives. Consequently, most of the foods you buy can be called processed.

These foods are not all the same because the processing can be different. In fact, some may be more jobs than others. Consequently, not all of them are harmful to health. Or at least some are more, while others are less.

A study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of the IRCCS Neuromed of Pozzilli (IS), in collaboration with the University of Insubria of Varese and Como, the University of Catania and Mediterranea Cardiocentro of Naples, highlighted the danger to health of processed foods.

The research, published in August 2022 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2022; 378 doi: monitored the health of over 22,000 people for 12 years. By analyzing their eating habits, the researchers also tried to evaluate the consumption of processed foods.

Research has found that it is precisely processed foods that are dangerous to health. In fact, they would especially increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The lead author of the study, Marialaura Bonaccio, epidemiologist at the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at IRCCS Neuromed in Pozzilli said: “In fact, over 80 percent of the foods classified as unhealthy by the Nutri-Score are also ultra-processed. . This suggests that the increased risk of mortality is not due directly (or exclusively) to the low nutritional quality of some products, but to the fact that these are also over-processed ».

Consequently, according to the study, foods that appear to be healthy, such as biscuits or rusks, could instead be dangerous to health as processed foods.

Conscious control of the label

Furthermore, according to the authors, an aid to consumers for a more informed choice of the food product is given by the information contained on the label. But the new Nutri-Score (conceived in France currently being examined by the European Commission) which is useful for identifying the nutritional values ​​of foods is not enough.

For this the authors of the research suggest the NOVA classification. This evaluates foods based on how the product is processed, or how much transformation it has undergone. In short, this ranking would identify which foods would be more or less processed.

These foods also include sugary and carbonated drinks, spreads, rusks, cream yogurt, some breakfast cereals.

The researchers’ advice is to read the product label by checking not only the ingredients and nutritional value but also whether the food is processed or not. Surely buying fresh and seasonal food would help our body to get better.

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(The information in this article is for informational purposes only and concerns scientific studies published in medical journals. Therefore, it does not replace the consultation of a doctor or specialist, and should not be considered for formulating treatments or diagnoses)

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