What foods are called refined and why are they harmful?

Refined foods predominate in the diet of the average Russian citizen. And this means that every day a huge amount of "empty" calories, sugar, harmful fats enters the body. At the same time, the body begins to lack vitamins, minerals, fiber. The use of processed foods contributes to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and increases the risk of chronic diseases. We will tell you which foods to limit in your diet and why.

Girl eating chips

What does refined foods mean?

The French term raffiner translates as "clean." Refined products are food in which the chemical composition changes significantly as a result of factory processing.

Typically, refiners have three goals:

  1. Improve the appearance and taste of products.
  2. Extend the expiration date.
  3. Destroy pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites.

In fact, refined products are a profitable move from a business point of view. People willingly buy food with a rich taste that is stored for a long time. The abundance of salt, sugar and aromatic additives makes consumers addictive, which positively affects sales.

The main health hazard of refined foods lies in an unbalanced composition. During processing, food is deprived of a significant part of vitamins, macro- and microelements, dietary fiber. The ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is shifting toward the latter, which leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Due to the abundance of "simple" carbohydrates, refined foods are absorbed too quickly: sugars are transformed into fat deposits, and a person feels hungry, irritated and tired.

White rice and egg noodles

List of refined foods and their health hazards

Some refined foods simply load the body with excess calories, while others lead to malfunctions of the internal organs. Please review and consider the list below to maintain your health.

Rafinated sugar

Sugar and any industrial sweets

Refined white sugar completely lacks useful substances. When used in excess, it causes serious harm to the body:

  • increases the risk of metabolic disorders: metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, obesity;
  • impairs mental ability;
  • contributes to the development of caries.

In latent form, sugar is present in many products. But most of all it is in sweets, pastries, industrial sauces, sweet carbonated drinks and packaged juices.

WHO considers the safe norm of sugar is up to 50 g per day. But most people do not follow this recommendation.



The human body needs sodium to maintain the water-salt balance and normal functioning of the cardiovascular system. However, another element prevails in the composition of small table salt - chlorine (60%).

To obtain a friable structure and snow-white color, manufacturers add potassium ferrocyanide (E536) to the product. This substance has a toxic effect - it provokes inflammatory processes in the digestive tract and on the skin.

White rice

White rice

Unpolished rice contains a large amount of dietary fiber, B vitamins, PP, potassium, selenium and zinc. However, after removal of the bran membrane, essentially one starch remains in the cereal. Such a product is not beneficial for the body and provokes the following problems:

  • the occurrence of constipation;
  • weight gain due to the high content of simple carbohydrates;
  • metabolic disorders up to type 2 diabetes.

White rice became the main one for fashionable diets, which were practiced by Russian stars. However, weight loss during its use occurs due to the elimination of fluid from the body, rather than real fat burning.


Products from premium flour

White flour of the highest grade makes pastries beautiful, lush and tender. However, the benefits in such a product are zero. When using products from premium flour, a huge amount of calories, sticky starch, and often also sugar, enters the body. The consequences are the same as with white rice: weight gain, constipation, metabolic disturbances.

The following products cause the greatest harm to the body:

  • cream pastries and cakes;
  • shortbread;
  • fried pies;
  • pasties;
  • fruit buns.

In addition to starch, such products contain a lot of sugar and trans fats. As a result, the risk of cardiovascular disease increases.

Refined Sunflower Oil

Refined Sunflower Oil

In the production of refined oil, sunflower seeds are poured with a solvent - hexane (an oil product), and then purified with alkali. The resulting fat is bleached and deodorized with water vapor.

How is refined oil different from unrefined?

  • Almost does not contain vitamins A, E, H, useful trace elements.
  • It has a slight smell and pale color.
  • Has a concentration of trans fats up to 25%.

The regular use of such a product leads to the development of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory processes, endocrine disorders. It is better to minimize fried foods in the diet, and dress salads with unrefined oil.

Girl eating low fat yogurt with berries

Skim milk products

Low-fat products, especially cottage cheese, yoghurts and kefir, are popular with those who always diet. However, their production is nothing more than a clever marketing ploy. To improve taste, starch, sugar, and aromatic additives are often added to skim milk. With the help of artificial stabilizers, manufacturers are trying to give the products a uniform density.

But the main harm of low-fat dairy products is that calcium is not properly absorbed from it. The macrocell does not go to the construction of bones and teeth, but "clogs" the kidneys, gall bladder, blood vessels.

Fast food

Other refined products

Refined products can also include food, which is made mainly from processed components. The list includes the following foods:

  • industrial semi-finished products: dumplings, dumplings, dumplings;
  • fast food;
  • chips, crackers;
  • imitation of fish, meat (in particular crab sticks);
  • margarine;
  • soups, noodles and instant mashed potatoes.

These foods are best excluded from the diet completely. They are not only poor in nutrients, but also crammed with "chemistry." Corn (fructose) syrup also harms the body, as it causes spikes in blood sugar and a feeling of hunger.

Healthly food

How to replace refined products?

If you immediately delete all refined foods from the diet, the body will be in a state of stress. Such tactics will lead to a breakdown. It is better to gradually replace junk food with more useful analogues.

Table 1. Alternative Refined Products

Refined productUseful counterpart
White sugarBrown sugar, sorbitol, erythritol, stevia
Shallow saltCoarse gray salt, sea salt (including pink Himalayan)
White riceBrown / Brown / Unpolished Rice
Semolina, couscous, bulgurWheat groats, barley groats, barley
Products from premium flourWhole grain flour products
Refined OilsUnrefined cold-pressed oils
Skim milkKefir and yogurt with a fat content of at least 3%, cottage cheese - at least 5%
SweetsNuts, dried fruits, raw seeds, fresh fruits
Fast foodWhole grain bread sandwiches, cheese, natural meat and fish, vegetable salads

Refined foods are an exchange of health for instant nutritional pleasure. A diet consisting of such food is not balanced, it leads to a deterioration in well-being, mental abilities, and excess weight. If you want to prevent such problems from happening, start replacing refined foods with healthy foods. Over time, you will realize that it is not only healthier, but tastier.

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