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The Hidden Dangers of Ultra-Processed Foods: How ‘Healthy’ Options Can Increase the Risk of Heart Attacks and Strokes

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Ultra-Processed Foods: A Hidden Risk for Heart Health

Experts have issued a warning about the potential dangers of consuming excessive amounts of ultra-processed foods, which can significantly increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. While many people associate this category of foods with potato chips and candy bars, it is important to note that even foods commonly considered “healthy” can fall into the ultra-processed category.

Unfamiliar Ingredients: A Cause for Concern

Ultra-processed foods often contain ingredients that are not typically found in your kitchen cabinet. In fact, you may encounter dyes, sweeteners, and preservatives with names that are unfamiliar to you. It is crucial to be aware of these additives as they can have negative effects on your health.

Surprising Culprits: Highly Processed Products

MailOnline has uncovered several products that are commonly consumed but are actually highly processed. Let’s take a closer look at some of them:

Soup Cans

While homemade soups are not considered ultra-processed, canned soups often contain ingredients that may raise eyebrows. For instance, a can of tomato soup may include an acidity regulator called citric acid. This additive is used to control flavor and ensure the soup’s pH levels remain stable, preventing bacterial growth. Cream of chicken soup may also contain stabilizers to prevent ingredient separation.

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Oatmeal Bars

Oatmeal bars are often marketed as a healthy snack option, but they can be packed with artificial sweeteners and chemicals. For example, Nature Valley Oatmeal Crispy Bars, which are advertised as containing 60% oats, also contain emulsified lecithin. To avoid these additives and sweeteners, it is recommended to opt for homemade oats or consume plain nuts instead.

Protein Cocktails

Protein shakes are commonly consumed by fitness enthusiasts to build muscle, but many of these products are highly processed. These shakes often contain the sweetener sucralose and various stabilizers. While adding sucralose does not make the shake inherently healthy, it can help individuals reduce their sugar intake, thus minimizing the risk of tooth decay, according to the British National Health Service.

Vegetarian Meat Alternatives

While single ingredient products like chicken breast and fish fillets are not ultra-processed, vegetarian meat alternatives are often heavily processed. These plant-based foods are processed to resemble and taste like meat, and they are typically supplemented with flavorings and chemicals to enhance their appeal. It is essential to be aware of these additives when choosing meat substitutes.

It is important to stay informed about the potential risks associated with consuming ultra-processed foods. By being mindful of the ingredients in the products we consume, we can make healthier choices for our overall well-being.

Source: Daily Mail

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