Industrialized foods: what are they? Are they bad for your health?

Industrialized foods are those that, in general, go through a series of steps, techniques and also the addition of other ingredients and chemicals.

Most of these products require a large number of procedures, and as the name says, they are produced directly in the industries and from there they pass to our table.

In general, they are products that come ready or semi-ready for consumption.

During the manufacturing process, food can go through several stages, such as smoking, concentration, fermentation, freezing, filtering, cooling, dehydration, frying, slicing, pasteurization, mixing, standardization and emulsification.

Each of these procedures mentioned above has a function for the food.

It may be to give more flavor and texture, enhance the color, increase the shelf life, prevent them from perishing during transport and storage, and even make greater use of edible parts.


What are the types of processed foods?

Industrialized foods can be divided into three groups, minimally processed, processed and ultra-processed. For each of these there is an intensity of changes in natural foods.

For example, minimally processed foods are those that undergo small changes, while processed and ultra-processed foods undergo more intense changes in their composition.

However, not all are produced in factories and industries. Despite the name, minimally processed and processed foods can be made from home to the bakery.

Check out each of the types of processed foods below.

What is a minimally processed product?

As mentioned above, minimally processed foods are those that, before being sold, go through simpler procedures, such as cutting, washing, peeling, grinding or receiving added sugar and salt. Generally, these processes are done to make food more practical, safer and also more palatable.

Check out the list of some minimally processed foods below:

  • Portioned meats, ground, frozen or chilled meat;
  • Pasteurized milk;
  • Washed and packaged vegetables;
  • Packaged grains (rice, beans).

Read more: Eating fruits and grains is more important than reducing fast foods

What is a processed food?

Processed foods are those that, during manufacture, can be added with salt, sugar and also additional chemicals capable of extending the shelf life and also maintaining the flavor, color and characteristic of the food. Generally, it is the sausages or canned foods that are most remembered.

Most of the food consumed undergoes some type of processing in the home, food service or industry. Therefore, homemade products can also be called processed.

These changes during preparation can be very large (such as the addition of chemicals) or minor (such as baking homemade bread).

See the list of some processed products:

  • Breads;
  • Cheeses;
  • Fruit in syrup;
  • Candied fruits;
  • Canned fish, such as sardines, tuna.

What is an ultra-processed product?

Ultra-processed foods are those that do not originate elsewhere than in industry, that is, foods that are not found in nature. Some are even made in laboratories and require a lot of techniques and steps to be ready to be consumed.

For manufacturing, it is necessary to add or provide actions that, alone, would not occur. For example, add meat or barbecue flavors to corn chips.

See the list of some ultra-processed foods:

  • Soft drinks;
  • Stuffed cookies;
  • Embedded;
  • Ice creams;
  • Chips.

Read: Sugary drinks increase the risk of premature death in women

What are natural and processed foods?

Natural foods, or called in natura, are those that after leaving nature do not undergo any type of industrial or chemical processing for consumption. And, therefore, they better conserve their nutritional properties, for example:

  • Vegetables;
  • Fruit;
  • Legumes;
  • Beef and pork;
  • Eggs;
  • Milk;
  • Fish;
  • Birds.

They contain less additives, less dyes or chemicals that are bad for your health. In addition, they contain important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

The industrialized ones are those found on the shelves of markets and bakeries. The most representative of this food category are those that come in packaging, such as:

  • Powdered juices;
  • Chips;
  • Cookies and crackers;
  • Frozen pizzas;
  • Chocolates and candies.

It is worth remembering that, many times, the industrialized ones seem to be less harmful to health. For example, a sugar-free soda has less carbohydrate and calories than orange juice.

However, the industrialized drink does not offer any nutrients to the body. On the contrary, it is full of additives and preservatives.

So it is not enough to think about calories when it comes to health.

Are industrialized foods bad for your health?

Potentially yes, a diet rich in industrialized products is generally more caloric, less nutritious and also contains chemical additives. This increases the risk of cardiovascular problems and other diseases.

Due to the large mixture of substances and the large number of processes, they are generally rich in sugar, contain large amounts of additives (dyes, preservatives and texturizers), are low in nutrients and high in bad fats.

If a person consumes this type of food daily, it is important to be careful.

As we have already said, in the long run they can cause a series of harms, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity .

Read more: Why eat vegetables?

Each of which can bring some kind of complication to health. The most common are:


Found in large quantities in industrialized products, sugar may be the villain in this story, as it has the potential to cause heart disease.

In addition to being considered caloric, which contributes to overweight, it also favors insulin resistance.

That is, when the cells of our body respond less and less to the presence of the hormone, increasing the chances of diabetes .

Read more: Diet soda can cause serious complication of diabetes


Due to the high levels of sodium present in processed foods, they can also be considered one of the risk factors for hypertension.

Processed meats such as bacon, ham, bologna and sausage are examples of industrial foods that are high in sodium.

Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the packaging of these foods and, if possible, reduce consumption more and more.


In addition to increasing the risk of heart disease, processed foods can also cause obesity.

The high caloric value present in these foods, together with the amount of simple carbohydrates and bad fats in their composition are capable of causing an overweight if they are consumed daily.

Cholesterol and inflammations

The high consumption of these foods can lead to an increase in triglycerides, the so-called bad cholesterol.

That’s because they contain so-called saturated fats, which lead to increased cholesterol.

Along with weight gain, the body is more susceptible to inflammatory cells.

Industrialized foods are part of the daily diet of many people, so it is necessary to find a way to reduce the damage and harm caused by them.

Consuming natural foods is more beneficial for your health.

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