Are Ultra-Processed Foods Worthy?​

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Ultra-processed foods have been labeled as a threat to society for a while now. For most users, however, the difference between processed foods and ultra-processed foods is s subject of individual discernment. Many consumers admit that heavily processed foods contain additives and artificial elements, but there is a bit of confusion regarding processing because almost all foods that are processed become affiliated.

Now, Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab from the School of Information Management, and Janet Music, a research associate at the same Agri-Food Analytics Lab, published an article defending ultra-processed foods.

They took the socio-economic implications such as the wages that have failed to keep up with the changing lifestyle, the gender gap in the section of unpaid labor, and the pressure on women to keep pace with absurd and utopian version of motherhood as arguments for processed fares.

The first target is the woman

The team brought into focus the fact that in the last 40 years, there has been a proportional increase in women returning or entering the workplace. Almost 70 percent of families in Canada are dual-income, which leaves limited time for families to home cook. Meanwhile, the wages have stayed the same, unable to keep up with increased in the cost of living and financially tightened the households. These financial and time distresses on families are felt more severely by women, with 68.6 percent reporting that they don’t have sufficient time in the day, and still the section of unpaid labor hasn’t kept up with gender balance in the labor market, Charlebois​ and Music wrote.

The researchers explained in their paper that expecting families to spend more time preparing home-cooked meals without taking into consideration the effect on already overworked women is also sexist as women still do most of the cooking in the majority of households.

The media is also putting excessive pressure on women to be perfect mothers, even if many of them have a full-time job, and this leads to intense stress and burnout. Undoubtedly, constraints to keep an ideal house while working full-time and maintaining an aura of complete fulfillment and happiness is as crazy as it is ridiculous, the duo explained.

Obesity rates and ultra-processed foods

Earlier research has linked increasing obesity rates with the intake of processed or ultra-processed foods. Even though these studies show that processed fares and heavily processed foods play a role in an unhealthy lifestyle, and are factually correct, Charlebois​ and Music stated that they could not be considered the main contributor.

Food processors are definitely marketing horrific products, such as hydrolyzed margarine, diet soda, and ready-made items that contain high sodium content. However, they are more in tune with the current market trends, the team claimed.

Eating well requires to return to the basics, more precisely to eat smaller portions, consume fruits and vegetables, intake whole grains, and balance the consumption of proteins.

Finally, the research duo concluded that people who turn to processed and ultra-processed foods are doing so for reasons of time, convenience, and affordability. ​

As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.