Ultra-processed foods and drinks can harm our health. They contain additives (like flavor enhancers) and processed ingredients that have been broken down and modified by technology. These foods contain lots of sugar, salt, and fat, as well as ingredients and additives not commonly used in home cooking, such as unnatural flavors to enhance taste or texture. Ultra-processed products now make up nearly half of what people eat and drink in many countries, including the United States. These unhealthy foods contribute to obesity and type 2 diabetes. In poorer countries, these products may also contribute to malnutrition. When people eat ultra-processed foods, that means they are not eating healthier options. Ultra-processed foods and drinks are designed to be easily and quickly consumed. This often leads to eating or drinking too much. They also contain large amounts of energy. If not used by the body, this energy is stored as fat, including fat in the liver which can cause serious health problems.
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