After a shift to a more ultra-processed diet, Americans are at a higher risk of chronic diseases.
According to a new survey, the average American’s diet has drifted more and more towards processed foods.
Such meals have been linked to an increased risk of various chronic diseases, and one researcher believes that the rising consumption of ultra-processed foods is driving obesity.
Any food that has been altered from its original condition, such as by adding salt, sugar, or other ingredients, is considered processed food.
Some foods are ultra-processed because they have been processed more than others. According to Harvard Medical School, they could include artificial colors or flavorings, and examples include frozen dinners, quick foods, and soft drinks.
Highly processed foods have been related to obesity and heart disease in studies. For example, a 2019 study compared the effects of an ultra-processed diet against an unprocessed diet in 20 overweight people who were hospitalized.
The two-week study indicated that participants on the ultra-processed diet ingested 500 calories per day more than those on the unprocessed diet, and that they gained two pounds on average during the ultra-processed period while losing two pounds during the unprocessed phase.
Ultra-processed foods appear to be on the rise, according to a new peer-reviewed study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Researchers looked examined data from over 41,000 adults who took part in the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2001 and 2018.
Food was categorized into minimally processed foods like vegetables and grains, processed ingredients like oil and salt, processed items like canned salmon and cheese, and ultra-processed foods like frozen pizza and soda after people were asked what they had eaten in the previous day.
According to a New York University news release via EurekAlert! summarizing the research, ultra-processed food consumption increased from 53.5 percent of calories in 2001 to 57 percent by the end of the study around 2018.
They also discovered that consumers ate less meat and dairy, resulting in a fall in whole food consumption from 32.7 percent to 27.4 percent of calories.
Except for Hispanic adults, who ate less ultra-processed foods and ate more, ultra-processed food consumption increased across nearly all groups, regardless of wealth. This is a condensed version of the information.