Bread, Cake, Biscuits Classified As Ultra-Processed Foods By ICMR-NIN
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The food categorisation done by the ICMR-NIN concluded that commercially produced food products such as bread, cake, biscuits, breakfast cereals, chips, fries, jams, sauces and mayonnaise as ultra-processed. Based on the nutritional value – including sugar, fat and salt content – as well as the extent to which they are processed, the medical research body issued an advisory for citizens to ‘restrict’ them as much as possible. According to the guidelines, a slew of commercial food products that could essentially be considered as staple in most homes were labelled the same.

This included ice cream, peanut butter, soy chunks, tofu, frozen food, protein powders, commercial cheese with additives, meats and plant-based meat, millets and legumes. In addition to these, mass produced salts and spices, energy drinks, cooking oils, refined sugar, milk-based health drinks, beverages, fruit juices, refined cereal flour and packaged paneer were classified as ultra-processed. Since these products were considered as having no resemblance to their original state and were processed extensively, thus losing fibre and micronutrients, the ICMR-NIN deemed the edible portion as fully altered.

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Since commercial food products are mass-produced with preservatives, homogenisers and artificial flavours and colouring, chances of the nutritional value depleting are high. Furthermore, the use of bleach, improvers, antimicrobials and other chemicals during production contribute to lowering the fibrous value of products like fruit juices and plant-based meat.  Since the cost of these products are on the affordable side, the masses opt for them as the go-to choice – leading to the spread of various lifestyle ailments. Eating them in moderation or completely abstaining from them has been suggested as ideal.