“Ultra-Processed” foods are making news again this week. The news is never good for these cheap, dangerous, foods

For years scientists have tied eating ultra-processed foods with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, inflammation, cancer, and more. Now, it’s linked to death.

The Study: Consuming Ultra-processed Food Tied to Higher Mortality

A study published a few days ago stated that people who consume greater amounts of ultra-processed foods may be at increased risk of death (1).

The researchers stated, “Findings from this prospective study of a large French cohort suggest for the first time, to our knowledge, that an increased proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet is associated with a higher risk of overall mortality.

This is bad news for anyone who consumes the Standard American Diet (SAD), which typically includes many processed foods.

Based on the study participants, 14.4% of the total weight of the food consumed came from ultra-processed foods. This accounted for  29.1% of their total daily caloric intake.

What’s more, for every 10% increase in ultra-processed foods, the risk for all-cause death increased by 14%!

While this may describe the SAD, is it possible for a Keto Diet to be ultra-processed?

It is.

If you’re only looking at the “numbers” for keto, and not the overall quality of the foods and ingredients, it can easily become too ultra-processed.

One aspect that sets Keto Zone eating apart is not only the adherence to low-carb keto standards but also to healthy anti-inflammatory foods and ingredients.

What are Ultra-Processed Foods?

Ultra-processed foods include mass-produced, ready-to-eat foods such as packaged snacks, sugary drinks, breads, candies, ready-made meals, and processed meats.

Typically these foods have a high-calorie value but are low in nutritional value.

They use extremely cheap ingredients that are produced in a lab or processed down from whole foods to the point of no longer resembling the original food nutritionally.

They are often high in processed fats, sugars, and sodium.

Why Do People Choose Ultraprocessed Foods?

People often select ultra-processed foods because they are:

  • Affordable. It’s cheaper to eat ramen than salmon.
  • Shelf-Stable. Easy to buy at a better price in bulk.
  • Easy to Prepare. Busy schedules leave little time for homemade foods.
  • Marketed to Kids. Childrens’ programming contains mostly processed foods commercials.
  • Food-Preferenced. Many people who are accustomed to processed foods prefer their taste.

If you’re not choosey when eating a keto diet, even it can become too high in ultra-processed foods.

How to Avoid Ultra-Processed Foods

By definition, most “keto branded” foods are not high in carbohydrates and sugar. This, at least, gives you a good start.

But, there are dangerous ultra-processed ingredients that sneak into Keto Foods. To avoid them, follow these 3 steps:

  1. Make as much of your food as you can at home. This is simple and important, but not easy. We all have busy schedules and homemade foods take time. But, you will know what ingredients go into your foods, and you can easily avoid the harmful ones.
  2. Avoid fast food as much as possible. Fast food restaurants are more interested in their bottom line than your health. Avoid starchy, sugars, and foods that are fried with soybean oil specifically.
  3. When you do buy commercial foods and condiments, look at every ingredient and be extra picky; don’t just look at the nutrition label. There are good commercial foods out there – not every processed food is ultra-processed. When buying one:
  • First things first, turn the package over and always look at the ingredient list first. The front side of a package is little more than marketing. Look at every ingredient and avoid soybean oil, concentrated omega-6 oils, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, saccharin, MSG, silicon dioxide (silica) and other preservatives), food colorings, chemical flavoring, and other processed ingredients. Acceptable? Go to the next step. Unacceptable? Look for another.
  • Look at the nutrition label. Does it fit into Keto Zone Eating? What are the net carbs and amount of fat? Acceptable? Go to the next. Unacceptable? Look for another.
  • Does it meet your standards for taste, texture, and convenience? When you’re buying keto foods, you’re usually spending a decent amount of money. Make sure it’s worth it based on reviews, recommendations, and instructions. If not, make your own with our Keto Zone recipes.

Bottom Line

Even a Keto diet can be full of ultra-processed foods. Don’t just eat Keto; eat in the Keto Zone. Choose healthy, whole-food, nourishing Keto Zone foods as much as possible. When you can’t make it yourself, be extra choosey and pick foods with the best ingredients possible to promote whole-body health and longevity.