An expert thinks that we can’t stop bingeing on ultraprocessed foods
Food Processes: What Iodized Salt and Other Micronutrient Deficits Can Do for a Better Health, a Less Risk of Obesity, Heart Attack, and Diabetes
Say “processed food” and most of us picture unhealthy, cheap junk. Fresh food can be found either in the garden or the field. Once we’ve put it through a processing plant or a laboratory, we’ve removed its halo qualities and added a bunch of bad ones. That means meat substitutes are no better than junk food.
Processed food is more than Coca-Cola, Dairy Milk chocolate, and ready meals. Most animal and plant products are processed to convert them into something we can eat. We mill grain into flour to make bread. We butcher and debone animals to get meat. We pasteurize milk.
Processed foods have brought us countless benefits, many of which we quickly forget. Iodized salt is just one example of how deficiencies in iodine used to be a problem all over the world. Most of the world now consumes salt with iodine added, and many countries have eliminated this deficiency. By adding nutrients to food, we’ve been able to address a number of other micronutrient deficiencies.
We have been able to increase shelf life and reduce food waste. We have reduced the spread of food-borne diseases. People with food allergies can now enjoy a balanced diet. We don’t need to spend the day preparing food—this has been particularly important for the educational and career development of women. taste is the last one. Great-tasting food is available on our shelves.
“The findings add to previous studies showing an association between a greater proportion of ultra-processed foods (UPFs) in the diet and a higher risk of obesity, heart attacks, stroke, and type 2 diabetes,” said Simon Steenson, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, a charity partially supported by food producers and manufacturers. He wasn’t involved in the new study.
It’s a problem that most UPFs are higher in calories, sugar, and fat. They don’t give us the full amount of nutrients that keep us full.
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In light of the increasing rates of obese children and adults in the United States, the body of research on the health implications of eating ultraprocessed foods is set against the backdrop. Do you see a move away from ultraprocessed foods as something that could help curb these negative health trends?
Overly processed foods include prepackaged soups, sauces, frozen pizza and ready-to-eat meals, as well as hot dogs, sausages, french fries, sodas, store-bought cookies, cakes, candies, doughnuts, ice cream and many more.
However, people who eat more ultra-processed foods also tend to “drink more fizzy drinks and less tea and coffee, as well as less vegetables and other foods associated with a healthy dietary pattern,” said Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian and senior teaching fellow at Aston Medical School in Birmingham, UK, in an email.
Researchers examined information on the eating habits of 197,426 people who were part of the UK Biobank, a large biomedical database and research resource that followed residents from 2006 to 2010.
“These associations persisted after adjustment for a range of socio-demographic, smoking status, physical activity, and key dietary factors,” the authors wrote.
Ovarian cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system, according to the American Cancer Society.
“However, an important limitation of these previous studies and the new analysis published today is that the findings are observational and so do not provide evidence of a clear causal link between UPFs and cancer, or the risk of other diseases,” Steenson said in an email.
Lowering ultra-processed foods in our diet could provide important health benefits, even though the UK study cannot prove causality, Vamos said.
Nancy Pelosi reveals how ultraprocessed foods raised eyebrows on the anniversary of her resignation as a leader of the House Democrats
On the monumental day that Nancy Pelosi announced she’d be relinquishing her role as leader of the House Democrats, she didn’t mark the occasion with a gourmet meal. Instead, the 82-year-old reportedly indulged in the same lunch she eats every day: a hotdog with mustard and relish.
This isn’t the first time Pelosi’s meal choice has raised eyebrows. She admitted on theRiver Cafe Table 4 that she sometimes eats chocolate ice cream for breakfast. “It’s right there, it has a long shelf life … It’s a great way to start the day,” she remarked.
Pelosi isn’t an outlier. In the US, a whopping 58% of adults’ daily calories, and 67% of kids’ daily calories, come from ultraprocessed foods, according to cancer epidemiologist Fang Fang Zhang.
But when we reach for that bag of Doritos in the larder, do we realize we are indulging in an ultraprocessed snack? What about when we toss plant-based meat alternatives into a stir fry?
There is some change happening. The government listed the effects of ultraprocessed foods as an issue that will be considered when it reviews the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which will be published in 2025. That is a big change. That’s the first time this has happened.
The challenge of ultraprocessed foods: How American President Donald Trump has gulped down 12 Diet Cokes a day and how we can shift towards less access to healthier foods
“It is a specific category of junk food that’s industrially produced. She says it doesn’t look like foods from which it is derived, and usually has a lot of chemical Additive of one kind or another. “These foods are industrially formulated to be irresistibly delicious so you can’t stop eating them.”
With the research illuminating the health consequences of these foods, people may be able to decide whether or not to eat them.
Another study published last year in JAMA Neurology found that those who consumed at least 20% of their daily calories from ultraprocessed foods may be at an elevated risk for cognitive decline.
accessibility is an overwhelming factor. Less-processed alternatives can be more expensive and last less than ultraprocessed ones. It makes them the ideal food option for people living in food deserts, low income areas and unable to access a large grocery store. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that 18.8 million people, or 6.1% of the population, reside in these underserved areas, based on data from 2015-2019.
We are seeing what could be a start. But we need a change in the eating environment in America so that healthy choices become easier to access, less expensive and the preferred choice for shoppers.
For those who do have access to a variety of food options, the challenge remains to overcome the urge to choose ultraprocessed foods. We need to understand how difficult this can be, by looking at another American leader. Former President Donald Trump reportedly gulped down 12 Diet Cokes a day. Once you start drinking them, it’s hard to stop. And for manufacturers, that’s exactly the point.
It’s been announced that the company is called: Nestle: Studies show that ultraprocessed foods encourage people to eat more calories, and the subjects gain weight as a result. If you want to eat less ultraprocessed foods and lose weight, then that would be a good thing.
Nestle: It is policy. We have a food system that helps produce cheap ingredients. Producers can get those ingredients and put it on the shelf. Extra costs are associated with items that are still usable after a long time.
CNN: What would it take for that to change – for there to be a shift toward more access to healthier foods? And for people to be motivated to make those healthier choices?
We can do more at the individual level. The first thing we have to do is to teach people about what the food system is like, and how there’s profitability in selling ultraprocessed foods. Food companies are not social service agencies, they’re not public health agencies, they’re businesses. They make a lot of money by selling their products, so companies don’t want to change.
CNN: Do you think this attention toprocessed foods will have an effect on the grocery habits of consumers? We’ve seen trends toward organic and non-GMO products. Do you think there will be similar trends toward non-ultraprocessed foods?
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If you can cook, you can eat rice and beans and vegetables, and small quantities of meat, and it isn’t very expensive. That kind of cooking requires facilities and time to do, as well as a culture in which that kind of cooking is desirable. We don’t work that way in our country.