Americans Eating Too Much Ultra-Processed Food
More than half of the food Americans consume, such as frozen dinners and cereal bars, is “ultra-processed” and contains too much sugar, according to a survey of 9,317 people. Respondents reported that, on average, about 58 percent of their daily food and drink was ultra-processed—manufactured for convenience using individual chemical ingredients not found in kitchen cabinets. (Not to be confused with processed foods, which are any non-fresh foods—even frozen veggies, applesauce, and steel-cut oats.) Soft drinks, packaged snacks, and “instant” meals are also among foods called ultra-processed. These contain far more added sugar than unprocessed or minimally processed vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and meats. Experts recommend that our diets contain less than 10 percent of calories from added sugar. Study participants who reported consuming a higher portion of ultra-processed food were more likely to exceed that level.
Source: BMJ Open, published online March 9, 2016