There's room on the plate for processed food
Nutritional research has found that processed food can be part of a balanced diet for Australian consumers, especially when it is used to provide economical and nutritional food to people in lower socioeconomic bands.
The study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, analysed foods according to both their costs and nutritional characteristics, in order to assess whether it was possible to include processed food — that is, food containing refined grains, and added sugars and fats — in a balanced diet.
The paper found that a balanced diet could include processed food, along with healthy unprocessed alternatives, while remaining affordable. Ultra-processed foods — such as ready-to-eat meals, canned fruits and meats, and mass-produced breads — could be used to cheaply supplement a diet with some good nutritional properties.
Ultimately the study showed that a diet could be formulated that was both economical and healthy and the presence of processed and ultra-processed foods did not substantially cause a degradation in the level of nutrition.
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