5 “healthy” snacks that really are ultra-processed products

Not all ultra-processed are among the fast food, prepared food and industrial pastries. Did you know that some of the “healthy” snacks that are promoted as such can be classified in this category?

It is important to recognize these types of products and limit their consumption, because the ultra-processed in the diet are related to obesity and other non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular problems or diabetes.

Ultra-processed foods

Ultra-processed foods are food products that are often contain a long list of ingredients and additives with artificial flavors, added sugars, stabilizers and preservatives.

Automatically the mind relates them to the prepared food, the fast food or energy drinks. However, their presence is much more widespread and they sometimes hide under the guise of healthy products.

The desire to take care of yourself and watch your diet is increasingly present in many consumers. The food industry has seen a vein to promote their products, referring to their health attributes and properties.

Most highlight the right nutrients in promoting better physical and mental fitness. However, it is important to pay attention to the composition, because behind them you could hide “healthy” snacks that, in reality, are not.

Food product labels have useful information that consumers can use to eat better.

5 “healthy” snacks that are ultra-processed

As already seen, these types of products are very widespread. Here are some of them that should be part of the diet only occasionally.

1. Granola or energy bars

Perhaps one of the most common and widespread in the fitness and between food Light. A comfortable, fast and light way to replenish energy wherever we are.

The problem does not lie with the ingredients, since some of them are healthy by themselves. Many of these bars hide large amounts of added sugar in the form of honey, syrup or glucose and fructose syrups.

The result is a snack that provides instant energy, but does not last long and does not promote a feeling of fullness in the long term.

Discover: 3 names by which sugar is known on labels

2. Protein bars

Unlike the previous ones, these types of supplementary bars have a higher protein content. They are useful to take after exercise and help when protein needs are very high.

In large part, they are made from milk or egg proteins. But some of them also contain a lot of sugar and saturated fat. Sometimes in larger quantities than a snack of chocolate.

3. More “healthy” snacks that are ultra-processed: cookies and cereals fitness with fiber

Cookies and cereals fitness They are the ones with the most widespread consumption. Fiber is usually the main claim, but the final product still has high amounts of added sugar.

In addition, in the case of cookies, many of them tend to contain hydrogenated fats or oils that are not recommended and that do not prove to have benefits.

In both cases it is necessary to read the labels well. Some of the more classic cookies and cereals have the same or better nutritional composition than others that are sold as foods fitness.

4. High protein pastries

One of the last to hit the market, thanks to the good reputation of low-carb diets. Its users are both people who want to improve body composition and those who want to lose weight and prevent health problems.

This still new group includes disparate products such as donuts, cookies, bread, Croissants, muffins and all kinds of snacks both sweet and salty.

What is the problem? The first is the long list of ingredients with added flavorings and other preservatives. Some of them difficult to recognize by users.

Second, the nutritional composition. Although they have more protein than the product original, the end result continues to present little or no nutritional quality. With the danger of being perceived as healthier and eating more often.

5. Protein shake

Reserved for a long time exclusively for athletes, today they aim to reach those people who want to take care of themselves and do not have time to cook a complete meal.

Easy to prepare, convenient to carry and quick to consume. But in terms of its composition, the reality is that it is similar to that of energy and protein bars.

Read more: Increase your productivity with these 5 protein-rich shakes

Why is it important to take care of ultra-processed ones?

For years, nutrition and health experts warn about the consumption of ultra-processed products. Why are they under the spotlight? What is the cause of concern and the reason for trying to keep them away from the usual diet?

The first problem they present is their nutritional quality. Or rather, its almost zero contribution of basic nutrients that have been shown to be necessary for the promotion of health and well-being. These are complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

On the other hand, these types of products contain high amounts of salt, added sugar, and saturated and hydrogenated fats. Apart from presenting a high energy density.

Not to mention that its palatability and marketing accompanying them encourages high consumption. With what they are present in the diet of many people in an excessive way.

This continued use translates into long-term health problems. In the course of the last decades, science has obtained evidence of its association with multiple markers and adverse outcomes.

As indicated in a systematic review published in 2020, the associated problems are the following:

  • Higher prevalence of overweight and obesity, as well as a higher body mass index.
  • Increased risk of metabolic syndrome and all its factors: high blood glucose, high blood pressure, high blood lipids.
  • Higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, arterial and cerebrovascular.
  • Depression.
  • Problems irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Higher mortality.

Cereal bars can be produced at home to avoid industry processing for higher profits.

How to make a responsible consumption of these 5 apparently "healthy" snacks

Ultra-processed foods are characterized by high amounts of added sugar, poor-quality fats, and salt. Also due to the low presence of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Today, most of them claim to stand out as a source of these nutrients to promote the health and well-being of consumers. Nevertheless, it is always preferable to ingest them through fresh food.

Sporadic consumption is not harmful and may even have some use. As long as people are aware of the product they buy and eat and that they are not part of the usual diet.

For those who need them sporadically, the best advice is to read the product labels and choose those with recognizable ingredients. If, on the other hand, circumstances make them something common in the diet, it is preferable to explore homemade alternatives that are quick to prepare and easy to transport and consume.