What are the harmful 7?
The Harmful 7 are seven categories of ingredients of concern that are often found in ultra-processed foods. According to Harvard Medical School, these foods most likely have many added ingredients such as sugar, salt, fat, and artificial colors or preservatives. Ultra-processed foods are made mostly from substances extracted from food, such as fats, starches, added sugars, and hydrogenated fats. They may also contain additives like artificial colors and flavors or stabilizers. Examples of these foods are frozen meals, soft drinks, hot dogs and cold cuts, fast food, packaged cookies, cakes and salty snacks.
The Harmful 7 include:
• Trans Fats & Hydrogenated Oils
• High-Fructose Corn Syrup
• Hormones & Antibiotics
• Processed & Artificial Sweeteners
• Artificial Colors & Flavors
• Artificial Preservatives
• Bleached Flour
Why is it important to eliminate the Harmful 7?
There’s growing evidence that suggests that there is a direct connection between obesity and the consumption of artificial and highly processed foods. But obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease are not the only problems. There’s a host of several other issues that negatively impact our lives and the lives of our children:
Obesity • Type 2 Diabetes • High Blood Pressure • Heart Disease • High Triglycerides • Increased Cancer Risk • Shorter Lifespan • Learning Disabilities • Limited Attention Spans • Hyperactivity • Behavior Problems • Depression • Anxiety
Position statements, related studies and articles
- What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health?, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School
- Ultra-processed foods: what they are and how to identify them, NIH, National Library of Medicine
- Processed Foods and Health, Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health
- Eating more ultra-processed foods may shorten life span, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School
- Incidence of obesity-related cancers is rising in younger adults, Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health
- Unfit to Serve – Obesity is impacting national security, CDC
- Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes, Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health
- Diet and mental health, Food & Mood Centre
Grab our free printable Cheat Sheet to help you find and avoid the Harmful 7 here.