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Life StyleDoes Recent Research Prove Ultra-Processed Foods are Unhealthy?

Does Recent Research Prove Ultra-Processed Foods are Unhealthy?


Experts have long debated the effects of ultra-processed foods on our . A number of recent studies are helping shed light on this issue and provide clearer answers.

Nutritional researchers first introduced the term “ultra-processed foods” or UPFs in the 1990s after noticing alarming obesity rates in Brazil. They developed a classification system to categorize foods based on production methods rather than nutrients. UPFs are made using industrial processes and ingredients not commonly found at home, like artificial flavors and preservatives. Popular examples include chips, candy, breakfast cereals and many packaged baked goods.

Since then, associations have been reported between frequent UPF consumption and health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and mental health problems. However, the direction of this link requires further examination. While observational studies show correlations, clinical trials are needed to determine cause and effect.

One such trial from 2019 had participants eat mainly unprocessed or minimally processed meals for two weeks, then switch to ultra-processed options. Those on the UPF diet consumed an average of 500 more calories daily and gained two pounds in two weeks, indicating these foods may disrupt normal appetite control. additional research is exploring how certain additives could disrupt hormones or gut health.

With UPFs accounting for most calories in many diets globally, experts stress the importance of moderating intake. While total avoidance may be unrealistic, substituting fresh alternatives when possible provides benefits. Guidelines in some nations now advise limiting these foods. As evidence develops regarding specific health impacts, reformulation efforts could make certain UPFs less problematic. Further trials are underway to clarify causal mechanisms and better inform dietary guidance. Overall, a balanced, mainly whole foods diet appears to serve the public best.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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