hidden junk foods

Junk foods are not healthy and are full of saturated fats, sugar, and salt. But often, we believe we are eating healthy foods. But unknown to us, there might be hidden junk foods in them too. How to spot these and correct our diet?

Table of Contents

Junk foods

The term junk foods brings to our minds most of the foodstuffs that they sell at fast food outlets. These are highly delicious and include greasy potato chips, burgers with cheese slices and white bread, chicken nuggets, fizzy sugary drinks, etc. They contain a lot of saturated fats, sugars, and salts. Moreover, these extremely ultra processed foods also have ingredients that can increase risk of cancer. And the ingredients used in the making of these foods are also of low nutritional value.

hidden junk foods
Junk foods are a health hazard (Source: Zenith Nutrition)

And we end up purchasing from the grocery shops and supermarkets foods or packages that carry the label ‘organic’ or ‘healthy’ or ‘contains no additives’. But are these really healthy? A new nutritional research has highlighted that many of these foods contain a lot of hidden junk foods in them. Therefore, they too might be bad for our body.

The hidden junk foods

One should be wary not only of the obvious junk foods that we all know about. But we should be also on the lookout and conscious about the hidden junk foods thar are present in what we believed were healthy foods.

Scientists from the reputed Imperial College’s School of Public Health did a comprehensive analysis to show that ultra processed foods can lead to cancer. These foods are highly altered ones with added additives and high amounts of unhealthy fats, salt, and sugar. They lack the natural structure or food matrix. But some processed foods are minimally altered and are still ok for consumption.

hidden junk foods
Kasia’s foods (Source: iNews)

The ultra processed foods include mass produced breads, ready meals, breakfast cereals, fruit yoghurts, cold meats, margarine, etc. However, some smart but wicked companies dress them up as healthy. And even intelligent and health-conscious consumers can get fooled by the labels.

Nutritionist Dr Federica Amati and Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London and co-founder of personal nutrition company ZOE analyzed the diet of author Kasia Delgado as an example to highlight the secretive junk foods in them.

Kasia’s diet and issues in it

Breakfast of wholemeal brown bread with butter and strawberry jam is not healthy. The experts said:

This is likely to cause a blood-sugar spike,”

“Opting for a dark rye bread or a brown seeded sourdough would be better if possible. Add avocado, seeds and feta for a savoury option or some nut butter and some fresh berries or a little high-fruit strawberry jam [homemade compote with frozen strawberries is also easy] for a sweeter option.”

hidden junk foods
The hidden junk foods (Source: Daily motion)

A lunch of cucumber, cherry tomatoes, peppers, feta cheese, with homemade dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar is relatively ok. But plant based hoi-sin sauce, fake duck lettuce wraps was not in the healthy zone. Tim opined:

Ready wraps and meat replacements can often be ultra-processed and have added ingredients which can be avoided if we buy whole foods. Opt to buy a plant protein like chickpeas, beans or tofu, and add to a salad or soup and a sourdough or dark rye bread.”

And Kasia’s dinner of mackerel with new potatoes, carrots and broccoli is good, but the mayonnaise with dinner is not healthy. Tim said on it:

“Great to have some oily fish for dinner and colourful vegetables,”

“Be mindful of shop-bought mayonnaise – but this is ok when eaten occasionally.”

The crumpet Kasia has is also an ultra processed product. It has at least five artificial additives in it. The cocoa-flavoured protein bar turns out also to be not healthy. Instead dark chocolate with almonds are OK.

Read here: More ultra processed foods linked with higher risk of cancer!

Berry smoothie occasionally is fine but it should not be a staple. Tim said:

“If you want a smoothie, try making your own smoothie with healthy fats, such as full-fat Greek yoghurt, avocado, nuts and seeds or some veg such as spinach to balance the sugar from the fruit.”

Check your own diet and reduce the ultra processed foods in them to avoid long term problems.