¿Qué son los productos ultraprocesados?

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Los productos ultraprocesados están cada vez más presentes en nuestra dieta, hasta el punto de que constituyen el 20% del consumo diario de alimentos. A continuación, explicamos cuáles son estos alimentos, los problemas de su consumo y, finalmente, proponemos algunas pautas para conseguir una dieta más sana y equilibrada.

¿Qué son los productos ultraprocesados?

Es común que haya cierta confusión entre los alimentos procesados y los ultraprocesados. En realidad, es común y totalmente incorrecto usar ambos términos indistintamente. Para aclarar cuál es cada uno, a continuación explicamos la diferencia entre ellos.

  • Alimentos procesados: a los que han añadido o eliminado alguno de los componentes que contienen de forma natural. Se puede decir que mantienen sus propiedades naturales, pero con uno u otro cambio.
  • Alimentos ultraprocesados: que contienen pocos o ningún elemento entero y que se elaboran para su consumo directo. Se trata de preparados industriales elaborados a partir de sustancias derivadas. Todos ellos tienen en común la gran cantidad de grasas y azúcares, por lo que son realmente perjudiciales para la salud.

Cuando pensamos en la comida ultra-procesada, la comida rápida y la confitería industrial nos vienen a la mente. De hecho, esta denominación abarca muchos más productos, algunos de ellos son: refrescos, pan blanco, carnes procesadas, productos lácteos endulzados, zumos de caja…

¿Cuál es el problema con el consumo de estos productos?

Los productos ultra-procesados son realmente dañinos para la salud. Al mismo tiempo, se consumen cada vez más en todo el mundo, lo que tiene graves consecuencias a medio y largo plazo. Algunos de los peligros asociados con el consumo de estos productos son los siguientes:

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  • Muchas calorías y pocos nutrientes. La principal desventaja de los productos ultraprocesados es que contienen un gran número de calorías. Por otro lado, entre sus componentes, prácticamente ninguno es saludable, como las vitaminas, proteínas o minerales. Este tipo de comida tiene lo que se llama calorías vacías porque no aporta casi nada saludable al cuerpo.
  • Grasas, azúcares, carbohidratos. Estos tres nutrientes están presentes principalmente en los alimentos ultra-procesados. Son responsables de los altos índices de obesidad y sobrepeso, que están aumentando en nuestra sociedad. Además, no olvide que los problemas de sobrepeso terminan llevando a otros más perjudiciales para la salud.
  • Alto contenido en sal. Todos los alimentos ultra-procesados contienen un alto contenido de sal. A veces la cantidad es tan alta que una porción de tal producto equivale a ingerir la mitad de la cantidad recomendada de sal en un día completo. Por lo tanto, este tipo de alimentos no se recomienda para las personas que sufren de hipertensión. Su consumo supone un aumento de la presión arterial a medio y largo plazo.

¿Cómo puedo dejar de usar productos ultraprocesados?

Eliminar los alimentos ultra-procesados de la dieta es realmente difícil. Lo primero es ser consciente de lo dañinos que son y de las consecuencias que tienen para nuestra salud. Como se ha visto, las enfermedades derivadas del consumo de estos productos son realmente nocivas.

Dejar de consumir alimentos ultra-procesados también es complicado porque este tipo de producto ya supera el 20% de lo que una persona come al día. En algunos países, como Inglaterra, este número aumenta a un alarmante 50%.

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Otro factor es que los alimentos ultra-procesados son altamente adictivos . Por lo tanto, eliminarlos de la dieta es más complicado que eliminar otros tipos de productos. Esto se debe a que la mayoría de ellos están hechos de carbohidratos, estos se absorben rápidamente y pronto la sensación de hambre aparece de nuevo.

Nuestro consejo para que deje de comer alimentos ultra-procesados es el siguiente:

  1. Evite comer fuera. La mayoría de los alimentos ultraprocesados se consumen fuera del hogar, especialmente en los establecimientos de comida rápida.
  2. Aumentar el consumo de frutas y verduras. Son saciantes, saludables y proporcionan una multitud de nutrientes para el cuerpo. También son uno de los bocadillos saludables por excelencia.
  3. Aprenda a identificar los alimentos ultra-procesados. Como puede ver, estos alimentos son mucho más que sólo comida rápida o dulces. Aprenda a identificarlos y evite consumirlos.

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