Health & Spirit

Kicking the ultraprocessed food habit

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Nick Saban, the famous football coach for LSU and Alabama (his college coaching record is 232-63-1), found that focusing on "the process" was the key to success: "Don't think about winning the SEC Championship ... think about what you needed to do ... in this moment. That's the process: Let's think about what we can do today, the task at hand."

So let's focus on the ultraprocess, which is something that happens to much of today's food. Let's think about the unhealthy ingredients and the task at hand: the process of avoiding unhealthy foods you love but that don't love you back!

Researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine analyzed over 230,000 food products and found that 86% of those made by the top 25 food manufacturers were ultraprocessed! These foods, containing added salt, sugar, oils, unhealthy fats and chemicals used to imitate the taste, smell and texture of minimally processed foods, increase your risk for cardiovascular disease, memory loss, cancer and more.

But their prevalence makes them hard to avoid. So here are three ways you can begin to process ultraprocessed foods out of your life.

1. Start somewhere! Add one piece of fruit to lunch and a salad (EVOO and lemon dressing) to dinner, whatever else is on your plate.

2. Substitute water, unsweet tea and black coffee for other beverages.


3. Beware deceptive packaging: "Fat free" often means added sugar; "sugar free" may mean added artificial ingredients. Opt for foods with as few ingredients on the label as possible or unpackaged, plant foods with no label at all!


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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