How you can use Dr. Will's to help your UPF consumption!

Written by Dr Emily Jevons @emilyjevonsnutrition

Have you heard of UPFs?

‘UPF’ has become a more well-known abbreviation in recent years, if you’re not familiar with the term, it stands for Ultra-Processed Food. In short, these commercially manufactured foods include ingredients you wouldn’t usually find in your cupboard at home!

But not all processing is bad and it’s important to understand the difference between processed and ultra-processed foods. Unless you are eating vegetables you're harvesting from your garden, most of the food you eat will have gone through some form of processing. Foods might be processed to improve the taste, make it safe to store and eat, or sometimes to make the food cheaper to produce.

Canning, fermenting, freezing and drying foods are all forms of processing. The most commonly used classification system of processed foods is the NOVA food classification system. How this differentiates unprocessed, minimally processed, processed and ultra-processed can be seen below.

Nova Classification


Unprocessed or minimally processed

Food that has not been altered or has no added ingredients. Examples include washed and bagged spinach or frozen vegetables.

Processed culinary ingredients

Foods made from unprocessed foods with simple processing. Examples include oils, sugar, herbs or butter.

Processed foods

Partially altered foods by adding sugar, oil, fat, salt, and other culinary ingredients to minimally processed foods. Examples include cheese and tofu that have been altered, but not in a way that’s bad for our health.

Ultra-processed foods

Entirely altered foods which have high levels of unhealthy fats, refined sugars, and salt. They also contain additives like dyes, stabilisers and emulsifiers.

These foods are usually very calorie-dense and don’t contain many (if any) valuable nutrients. Examples include cookies, crisps, and fast food.


So when we’re thinking about UPFs specifically, these foods often contain ingredients you might not recognise, such as dyes, stabilisers and emulsifiers. They are also often altered with refined sugars and salt, whilst being quite calorie-dense with minimal valuable nutrients. In recent years, UPF consumption has been associated with a range of adverse physical and mental health outcomes. 

You might be thinking, “Well why do we eat UPFs then?”. The truth is, they are often made to be convenient, cheap and extra tasty, meaning they have become a staple part of a large proportion of the population's diet for various reasons. For some people, UPFs can also be useful - for example, most specialised sports nutrition products are classed as UPFs, or in clinical situations where meal replacement drinks are required on a large scale with a long shelf life.

So can I have any UPFs?

The general consensus is that we should minimise our UPF consumption and increase less processed foods in our diet. This doesn’t mean you can’t consume any UPFs, but if there is a healthier, more natural alternative (such as our wonderful sauces, mayos and dressings!), it might be worth making the swap!

It’s also important to remember not all processed foods are bad for you. For example, a lower-sugar wholegrain breakfast cereal, a multi-seed wholemeal loaf of bread or plant-based yogurt would all be classified as processed, and some as ultra-processed. The NOVA classification system functionality has also been questioned in recent years and some research has stated it neglects well-established food science principles. Further sub-classifications of UPFs are needed, and hopefully we will see this in the next few years!

A good way to think about your diet as a whole is to take the 80/20 approach. This is where 80% of the time you are trying to consume nutrient-dense, healthy foods with the other 20% to be for other food or drink of your choice! Depending on your personal preferences, this might include some UPFs, but for your condiments, it doesn’t have to be thanks to Dr Will’s!

What makes Dr Will’s different?

A lot of commercial food condiments contain added refined sugars. Those that are low sugar will often use artificial sweeteners in place of sugar. Artificial sweeteners are chemicals that are used to sweeten food and drinks - they are lower calorie and much sweeter than sugar but again, they are associated with some negative health outcomes, so reducing your intake may be beneficial depending on your individual dietary and health needs.

Dr Will’s use all-natural ingredients, free from artificial sweeteners and with no added sugars - a perfect option if you want to swap your condiments for a healthier alternative to help reduce your UPF consumption!

The simple swaps you can make

Dr Will’s have created a full range of tasty condiments to provide you with healthier natural alternatives to your family favourites! Here are some examples but you can find their full range of products here.

Tomato Ketchup

Popular Condiment Swap

Heinz No Added Sugar and Salt for  Dr Will’s Ketchup


All natural ingredients with no artificial sweeteners!

Where can I find it?

Ocado, Waitrose, Co-op, Amazon

BBQ Sauce

Popular Condiment Swap

Sweet Baby Ray BBQ Sauce for Dr Will’s BBQ Sauce


All natural ingredients and significantly lower sugar (6g vs 2g per tablespoon!)

Where can I find it?

Ocado, Waitrose, Co-op, Amazon 

Sriracha Hot Sauce


Popular Condiment Swap

Thai Dragon Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce for Dr Will’s Sriracha Hot Sauce


All natural ingredients and significantly lower sugars and salt!

Where can I find it?

Tesco, Ocado, Amazon 


Popular Condiment Swap

Hellman's Lighter than Light Mayonnaise for Dr Will’s Avocado Oil Mayo


No seed oils, all-natural ingredients, and no nasty thickeners!

Where can I find it?

Ocado, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Amazon

Dr Will’s UPF ‘Takeaways’

  • Most foods we eat have been processed in some way. Learning the difference between processed and UPF is key to understanding this. The NOVA classification is the most commonly used, but further sub-classifications of UPF are needed!
  • UPF consumption has been associated with various adverse mental and physical health outcomes and in general, we should look to eat a balanced diet with a range of plants, whilst also minimising UPF consumption. The 80/20 dietary approach is a good place to start.
  • Your condiments don’t have to be full of ingredients you don’t recognise! Dr Will’s provides a range of sauces that are less processed, and made from natural ingredients with no artificial sweeteners. You can find their products at a variety of retailers including Tesco, Waitrose, Ocado, Co-op and Amazon, as well as on their website here!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published