The Problem Is We Are Not Eating Food Any More

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The Problem Is We Are Not Eating Food Any More
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image source – Pixabay (PD).

“The problem is we are not eating food anymore; we are eating food-like products.” ― Alejandro Junger, “Hungry For Change” Film

True to Dr. Alejandro Junger’s words, results from a 2016 cross-sectional study published in the BMJ Journal, showed that “Ultra-processed foods comprised 57.9% of energy intake, and contributed 89.7% of the energy intake from added sugars.” [1]

According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, your daily sodium intake should not exceed 2,300 mg and only 10% of your calories should come from added sugars. [2] But if the results from this study are anything to go by, most Americans are well outside the USDA Dietary Guidelines.

Ultra-processed foods are affordable, hyper-palatable, and convenient products that have nothing to do with nature. These food-like products are everywhere and they come in various forms such as french fries, chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, energy bars, pizza, muffins, breakfast cereal, beverages, ice cream, and cakes.

The issue with these food-like products is that they are laden with tons of questionable additives, artificial sugars, preservatives, and saturated fats that have little-to-no nutritional value and negative effects on health.

For example, a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that an increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with a higher risk of mortality. [3] Similarly, another study in the BMJ Journal claimed that ultra-processed foods significantly increase the risk of cancer. [4] Although these studies are not conclusive, they should at least tell us something about the dangers of eating food-like products.

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Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

References:

[1] Ultra-processed foods and added sugars in the US diet: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/3/e009892.

[2] Dietary Guidelines For Americans https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf.

[3] Association Between Ultraprocessed Food Consumption and Risk of Mortality Among Middle-aged Adults in France https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2723626?resultClick=1.

[4] Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort https://www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.k322.


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