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Processed Foods and Ultra-Processed Foods effect on Psoriasis

Processed Foods and Ultra-Processed Foods effect on Psoriasis

Which processed foods Trigger Psoriasis Flare-ups and are all Processed foods are bad?

This is not a new subject, and It is widely known among people with psoriasis that some processed foods trigger psoriasis flare-ups. Key to managing psoriasis is establishing these triggers and eliminating them. Some foods affect us more than others, and it takes time for someone to establish and understand those triggers.

This is how some of those diagnosed with Psoriasis for a couple of years or more can manage their symptoms (through diet and lifestyle changes) and even achieve long-term remission.

This post will review the types and list of foods to avoid and find out how we can replace them with healthier alternatives.

What are “processed foods”

Processed foods” are the foods that have been pre-prepared, by cooking, freezing, canning, heating, pasteurizing, blanching, drying, dehydrating, mixing, packaging etc.

Not all processed foods are bad for health. Most foods are processed in some way. Every time we cook, we process the food. But the difference between the store-bought processed food and the foods you cook at home is the packaging and ingredients added to enhance the taste and preserve those foods for longer shelf life.

To understand the processing levels and what types of processed foods are bad, let’s look at Dr Carlos Monteiro processed foods classification system – NOVA.[1]

NOVA groups for food processing consist of 4 groups/grades and it allows us to compare the degree of processing and those groups are:

  1. Unprocessed or minimally processed foods – Unprocessed (or natural) foods are edible parts of plants (seeds, fruits, leaves, stems, roots) or animals (muscle, offal, eggs, milk), and also fungi, algae and water, after separation from nature.
  1. Processed culinary ingredients – Processed culinary ingredients, such as oils, butter, sugar and salt, are substances derived from Group 1 foods or nature by processes that include pressing, refining, grinding, milling and drying.
  1. Processed foods – Processed foods, such as bottled vegetables, canned fish, fruits in syrup, cheeses and freshly made bread, are made essentially by adding salt, oil, sugar or other substances from Group 2 to Group 1 foods.
  1. Ultra-processed food and drink products – Ultra-processed foods, such as soft drinks, sweet or savoury packaged snacks, reconstituted meat products and pre-prepared frozen dishes, are not modified foods but formulations made mostly or entirely from substances derived from foods and additives, with little if any intact Group 1 food.

As you can see in this classification, ultra-processed foods are the foods that contain gut harming ingredients, and Diet high in ultra-processed foods have been found to trigger an inflammatory response and a leaky gut.[2]

What is “ultra-processed food”

As mentioned above, the concept of ultra-processed food was initially developed and the term coined by the Brazilian nutrition researcher Carlos Monteiro and his team.

According to Dr Carlos Monteiro et al. Ultra Processed food ingredient formulations are mostly exclusive to industrial use, made by a series of industrial processes, many requiring sophisticated equipment and technology (hence ‘ultra-processed’).

Processes used to make ultra-processed foods include the fractioning of whole foods into substances, chemical modifications of these substances, assembly of unmodified and modified food substances using industrial techniques such as extrusion, moulding and pre-frying; use of additives at various stages of manufacture whose functions include making the final product palatable or hyper-palatable; and sophisticated packaging, usually with plastic and other synthetic materials.

Ingredients include sugar, oils or fats, or salt, generally in combination, and substances that are sources of energy and nutrients that are of no or rare culinary use such as high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated or interesterified oils, and protein isolates; classes of additives whose function is to make the final product palatable or more appealing such as flavours, flavour enhancers, colours, emulsifiers, and sweeteners, thickeners, and anti-foaming, bulking, carbonating, foaming, gelling, and glazing agents; and additives that prolong product duration, protect original properties or prevent the proliferation of microorganisms.

Processes and ingredients used to manufacture ultra-processed foods are designed to create highly profitable products (low-cost ingredients, long shelflife, emphatic branding), convenient (ready-to-consume) hyper-palatable products liable to displace freshly prepared dishes and meals made from all other NOVA food groups.

Ultra Processed foods list

Adapted from Monteiro et al., 2017a.

  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Sweet or savoury packaged snacks (Potato chips, crackers, corn puffs. nachos etc.)
  • Chocolate
  • Candies (Confectionery)
  • Ice-cream
  • Mass-produced packaged bread and buns
  • Margarine and other spreads
  • Cookies (biscuits), pastries, cakes, and cake mixes
  • Breakfast ‘cereals’, ‘cereal’ and ‘energy’ bars
  • ‘Energy’ drinks
  • Milk drinks
  • ‘Fruit’ yoghurts and ‘fruit’ drinks
  • ‘Cocoa’ drinks
  • ‘Instant’ sauces
  • Many pre-prepared ready-to-heat products including pies and pasta and pizza dishes
  • Poultry and fish ‘nuggets’ and ‘sticks’, sausages, burgers, hot dogs, and other reconstituted meat products
  • Powdered and packaged ‘instant’ soups, noodles and desserts
  • Infant formulas, follow-on milk, other baby products
  • ‘Health’ and ‘slimming’ products such as meal replacement shakes and powders.

Which processed foods are bad for Psoriasis

All Ultra-processed food products contain emulsifiers, which affect gut microbiota and epithelial integrity and have a dysbiosis-inducing nutrient profile: high fat and sugar, and low protein and micronutrients.

Therefore, all of those ultra-processed food products mentioned above could contribute to an increased susceptibility to autoimmune disorders through the microbiota imbalance.[3]

Replace with healthy alternatives

If you are experiencing a flare-up, eliminate all ultra-processed foods which do not provide any nutritional value anyway and replace them with healthy alternatives such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole foods and see if your condition improves.

The food we eat determines our health. You can choose to eat to heal and use food as medicine. In doing so, keep in mind that exercise is paramount; it promotes healthy digestion and strengthens your digestive tract and enhances gut flora and helps heal.

Note that gut repair takes time, it might take up to a couple of months to start seeing any results.

Monteiro, C.A., Cannon, G., Lawrence, M., Costa Louzada, M.L. and Pereira Machado, P. 2019. Ultra-processed foods, diet quality, and health using the NOVA classification system. Rome, FAO.

Marit K. Zinöcker, Inge A. Lindseth. 2018. The Western Diet–Microbiome-Host Interaction and Its Role in Metabolic Disease

Sandra V. Aguayo-Patrón, Ana M. Calderón de la Barca. 2017. Old Fashioned vs. Ultra-Processed-Based Current Diets: Possible Implication in the Increased Susceptibility to Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease in Childhood

Disclaimer: Dear reader, any and all the content on OffPsoriasis.com Is created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

People with specific health or allergy needs are advised to consult their doctor before using any remedies. A natural remedy does not mean safe if exceeded recommended doses or if the person is allergic to the ingredients. We recommend doing personal research and allergy test before introducing new ingredients to your diet.

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