Processed and Ultra-Processed Foods

by | Sep 5, 2023 | Nutrition

Which of these are considered to be “processed” foods? Which are “ultra-processed”?
  1. Bread
  2. Cheese crackers
  3. Diet soda
  4. Hot dogs
  5. Carrots

Correct answer:

Processed foods:
  • Bread 
Ultra-processed foods
  • Cheese crackers
  • Diet soda
  • Hot dogs

What you should know:

According to NOVA, a system used in many countries that defines three levels of processing for all kinds of foods: Processed foods are “foods made by adding fats, oils, sugars, salt, and other cooking ingredients to minimally processed foods to make them more durable and usually more palatable, and by various methods of preservation.” Ultra-processed foods are “not…formulations of industrial ingredients and other substances derived from foods, plus additives. They mostly contain little if any intact actual food. The purpose of ultra-processing is to create products that are convenient, attractive, and profitable.”

Deciding what’s right for you:

It’s worth noticing that the purpose of ultra-processing foods is not to create products that are nutritious. Your food choices are yours, but the NOVA system can help you understand what you’re getting into—or, rather, what’s getting into you.
Fundamentals of Health Alliance

Fundamentals of Health Alliance


The Fundamentals of Health Alliance works to publish useful and reliable information about nutrition and health. Their mission is to empower readers to be informed with honest, non-biased information about food, nutrition and the vital components of health.

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