Ultra-Processed Foods: Are They Harmful ?

March 4, 2024 , , ,

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes that provide a sweet taste but with no calories thanks to their high sweetening power. Studies suggest that some artificial sweeteners (including aspartame, acesulfame-K, and saccharin) may increase the risk of cancer and cardiometabolic diseases or alter the composition of the gut microbiota. To learn more about this matter, read this article.

Nitrates and Nitrites

In Canada, nitrates and nitrites are used as preservatives, including in deli meats. They were classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans by the IARC in 2010.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, excessive consumption of ultra-processed foods poses health risks. It is therefore best to try to limit them and cook more from fresh or minimally processed foods. It’s also a good habit to pay attention to the ingredient list rather than relying on packaging claims that can sometimes be misleading.

SOSCuisine.com offers weekly meal plans based on the Mediterranean diet, customizable according to each person’s allergies, intolerances and preferences. Subscribing to these meal plans is a simple and effective way to gradually adopt a varied and balanced diet with little or no processed foods. We also offer individual consultations with experienced Registered Dietitians.


1) Monteiro et al (2019). Ultra-processed foods: what they are and how to identify them. Public Health Nutr; 22(5):936-941.

2) Cordova et al (2023) Consumption of ultra-processed foods and risk of multimorbidity of cancer and cardiometabolic diseases: a multinational cohort study. The Lancet Regional Health;35: 100771.

3) International Agency for Research on Cancer (2024) IARC monographs on the identification of carcinogenic hazards to humans. https://monographs.iarc.who.int

4) Liu et al (2022). Food Additives Associated with Gut Microbiota Alterations in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Friends or Enemies? Nutrients;14:3049.

5) Debras et al. (2022) Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk: Results from the NutriNet-Sante ́ population-based cohort study. PLoS Med 19(3): e1003950.

6) Manavalan, Shubrook et Young (2021) Consumption of Non-nutritive Sweeteners and Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: What Do We Know, and Not? Current Diabetes reports; 21:53.

7) Ruiz-Ojeda et al. (2019) Effects of Sweeteners on the Gut Microbiota: A Review of Experimental Studies and Clinical Trials. Adv Nutr;10:S31–S48.

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Kathryn Adel
Kathryn holds a Bachelor Degree in Nutrition as well as a Bachelor and a Master Degree in Kinesiology, all from Laval University. She is a Registered Dietitian and active member of the Ordre professionnel des Diététistes Nutritionnistes du Québec (ODNQ) and of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She holds the Monash University's certification for the FODMAP diet and IBS, and has considerable clinical experience in that area. She is also an accomplished athlete, having ran track and cross-country at a national level. Kathryn specializes in sports nutrition, weight loss, diabetes, as well as heart and gastrointestinal health.

One comment to “Ultra-Processed Foods: Are They Harmful ?”

March 9, 2024 Donatien CAMBRIEUX said:

On a le climat au Canada pour cultiver des bons légumes ! Merci pour votre blog. Donatien Cambrieux.

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