Not all highly processed foods are bad for you. Here’s what you should know, according to nutritionists:

Processed foods and ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are in the news a lot – most of it negative. Recent studies have linked diets high in UPF to an increased risk of the following heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression And dementia. While discussions often focus on the negative effects of these foods, there may be some exceptions worth exploring. Almost all foods require some form of processing, but what exactly separates processed foods from UPFs? And can any of these highly processed options provide nutritional benefits? Yahoo Life asked nutritionists to clarify what role processed and ultra-processed foods can play in a healthy diet. Here’s what they had to say.

What are processed vs. highly processed foods?

Although the terms “processed” and “ultra-processed” foods are commonly used, standardized definitions are lacking. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), processed foods are any food that has been altered from its natural form through methods such as chopping, heating, freezing, pasteurizing, and juicing. The NOVA classification system, often used to categorize foods, specifies that salt, oil, sugar, or other substances are added to processed foods to preserve food and make it more appetizing. Examples include bacon, canned vegetables, beans and fish; fruit in syrup; and freshly baked bread and cheese.

UPFs, on the other hand, are packaged as Ready to eat or heat Options and usually included several manufactured ingredients, such as additives (preservatives, stabilizers, flavor enhancers, fillers, etc.), sugar, fats (especially saturated fatty acids) and salt. These items, such as flavored yogurts, juices, packaged snacks, carbonated sodas, processed meats, and instant noodles, are convenient, shelf-stable, and attractively designed. Essentially, most store-bought foods fall into these categories.

Are all highly processed foods bad for you?

“Not all UPFs are the same” Lauren Harris PincusFounder of…

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