Want to Lose Two Pounds in Two Weeks?

Nutrition experts rarely agree on much, but one thing they’ve seemed to hold steady on is the idea that the less processed a food is, the better it is for us. Whole foods—things found in their most natural state, like fish, chicken, fruits and veggies—maintain all their nutrients intact and don’t have added sugar, sodium, or additives for color or convenience. It’s the difference between a potato and a potato chip.

So it may not come as a total shock that recent research revealed that ultra-processed foods are a huge factor in weight gain. But processing can mean all kinds of things, from grinding grains to make flour to that infamous pink slime used in industrial meat products. So what the heck does ultra-processed mean?

According to one report, which ranked foods by how much processing they undergo, ultra-processed foods are made with ingredients you’d rarely see outside a manufacturing plant—things like stabilizers, emulsifiers, and anti-caking agents.

Excerpted from Health

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