Study Outlines The Case For & Against Using The Concept Of Ultra-Processed Foods

Washington [US]: A study by the American Society for Nutrition frame the body of evidence for and against utilizing the idea of ultra-processed foods to assist with illuminating dietary rules past regular food classification systems.

The authors, Carlos A. Monteiro, MD, PhD, of the University of Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Arne Astrup, MD, PhD, of Novo Nordisk Foundation in Hellerup, Denmark, will examine the issue in a live virtual discussion June 14 during NUTRITION 2022 LIVE ONLINE. The discussion bases on NOVA, a framework created by Monteiro and partners that characterizes food varieties by their level of industrial processing, ranging from unprocessed or minimally processed to ultra-processed. NOVA characterizes super handled food sources as those made utilizing groupings of cycles that extricate substances from food sources and change them with synthetic compounds or added substances to plan the eventual outcome. Ultra-processed foods are characteristically designed to be cheap, palatable and convenient; examples include soft drinks and candy, packaged snacks and pastries, ready-to-heat products, and reconstituted meat products or plant-based alternatives.

Studies have connected utilization of ultra-processed foods – – which are many times high in salt, sugar and fat – – with weight gain and an expanded gamble of persistent sicknesses, even in the wake of adapting to how much salt, sugar and fat in the eating routine. While the systems behind these affiliations are not completely perceived, Monteiro argues that the existing evidence is sufficient to justify discouraging the consumption of ultra-processed foods in dietary recommendations and government policies.

“The negative dietary effects of ultra-processed foods have now been made clear by many nationally-representative studies,” Monteiro wrote in his position paper. “[Guidelines] should emphasize the preference for unprocessed or minimally processed foods and freshly made meals and make explicit the need to avoid ultra-processed foods.”

In a counterargument, Astrup argues that classifying foods according to their processing methods does not meaningfully improve upon existing systems and could lead to unintended consequences. For example, there are both nutritional and environmental benefits to increasing the emphasis on plant-based foods, yet many healthful plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are considered ultra-processed. Astrup also contends that unhealthful foods like fries, burgers and pizza would be considered ultra-processed if purchased from a fast-food restaurant but minimally processed if made at home with similar ingredients.

“Clearly, many aspects of food processing can affect health outcomes, but conflating them into the notion of ultra-processing is unnecessary because the main determinants of chronic disease risk are already captured by existing nutrient profiling systems,” wrote Astrup. “The NOVA classification adds little to existing nutrient profiling systems; characterizes several healthy, nutrient-dense foods as unhealthy; and is counterproductive to solve the major global food production challenges.”

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