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Kicking the Ultra-Processed Food Habit

Kicking the Ultra-Processed Food Habit

Kick ultra-processed foods to the curb when you adopt these three easy eating habits.

Nick Saban, the famous football coach for LSU and Alabama (his college coaching record is 232–63–1), found that focusing on “the process” was the key to success: “Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship… Think about what you needed to do… in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.” So, let’s focus on ultra-processed food, the unhealthy ingredients and the task at hand—the process of avoiding unhealthy foods you love that don’t love you back.

Researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine analyzed over 230,000 food products and found that 86 percent of those made by the top 25 food manufacturers were ultra-processed. These foods, containing added salt, sugar, oils, unhealthy fats and chemicals used to imitate the taste, smell and texture of minimally processed foods increase your risk for cardiovascular disease, memory loss, cancer and more.

But their prevalence makes ‘em hard to avoid. So, here are three ways to begin to process ultra-processed foods out of your life.

  1. Add one piece of fruit to lunch and a salad (EVOO and lemon dressing) to dinner, whatever else is on your plate.
  2. Substitute water, unsweet tea and black coffee for other beverages.
  3. Beware deceptive packaging: Fat-free often means added sugar; sugar-free may mean added artificial ingredients. Instead, opt for foods with as few ingredients on the label as possible or unpackaged, plant foods with no label at all.
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