It's not just a lack of important nutrients that makes ultra-processed products so bad for you; they also contain dangerous ingredients that can cause serious health issues. For starters, 74% of products in the grocery store have way too much sugar; fructose may play a role in causing fatty liver disease, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and tooth decay; it's a marker for obesity, and even correlates with cancer and dementia. They also contain too much salt; humans only need 2.3g of salt as a daily MAX, yet most of us are consuming 6.9g, which can lead to high blood pressure and kidney issues.
Then there are branched-chain amino acids, which are required for building muscle, but consuming them in excess causes fat buildup in the liver -- so say hello to heart disease and diabetes. Overloading on omega-6 triggers inflammation and cell damage, while additives (like red dye) turn into chemicals in your stomach. Too many nitrates (found in sausage, bacon, and ballpark franks) can lead to colon cancer. Plus, all those emulsifiers, which are essentially detergents that prevent fat and water from separating… um, last time I checked, swallowing detergent is a one-way ticket to the poison control center.