A new study shows that America’s consumption of ultra-processed foods has increased significantly. These foods, which include instant noodles, frozen pizzas, and baked goods, are often loaded with chemicals, trans fats, and other additives.
The research, released in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrates the growth in intake in almost every demographic, irrespective of wealth, of these food categories over the previous two decades. The data show that low dietary quality is associated with the progression of numerous chronic illnesses, such as heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
“The overall composition of the average U.S. diet has shifted towards a more processed diet. This is concerning, as eating more ultra-processed foods is associated with poor diet quality and higher risk of several chronic diseases. The high and increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods in the 21st century may be a key driver of the obesity epidemic,” explained the lead author of the research.
Scientists discovered, of course, that individuals 60 or over were the age range with the highest rise in ultra-processed food intake throughout the 18-year period. Respondents in this age group ate at the outset of a survey less than any other group of highly-processed foods and the most complete meals. At the end, the opposite happened.
The manner in which food is marketed in food shops can in partially indicate why in various groups of individuals in the last 2 decades the consumption of ultra-processed food has grown.
Ultra-processed foods (ULPFs) consist of high levels of salt, sugar, fat, and other additives. These foods have been altered so that they retain a consistency that is appealing to the eye but lack nutritional value. The food industry has been pushing ULPFs for years as a way of increasing profits while decreasing costs. In recent years, the federal government has required companies to disclose information on ULPFs, including the amount of sodium, sugar, fat, and other additives in their products.