ultraprocessedHave you heard of ultra-processed foods (UPF’s)?  Real-world data suggest that more than half of daily energy intake is coming from processed and ultra-processed foods in most western countries (Elfadil et al, 2021).  This high consumption of processed foods is of concern, given laboratory and epidemiological studies’ findings that prove overwhelming harms of processed foods on human health (Elfadil et al, 2021).  Most of the time, they are sold as snacks, drinks or ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat meals.  There are various plausible explanations of why diets high in ultra-processed foods are harmful (Bertazzi Levy et al, 2023).  Some of these explanations include: they displace freshly prepared meals; portion sizes as served in fast-food outlets have increased significantly over time; there are sophisticated marketing strategies to promote these “foods”; are associated with lower water intake and more food additive such as artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers and colorings; can harm gut microbiota; increased glycemic response, reduced satiety and thermic effect (Bertazzi Levy et al, 2023).  So what is the solution?  Always prefer to eat natural or minimally processed foods and freshly made dishes and meals instead of ultra-processed foods. Go for real food – vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, and high quality sources of protein.



Consumption of ultra-processed foods and multiple health outcomes: An umbrella study of meta-analyses.

Wang Z, Lu C, Cui L, Fenfen E, Shang W, Wang Z, Song G, Yang K, Li X.
Food Chem. 2024 Feb 15;434:137460. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2023.137460. Epub 2023 Sep 12.

PMID: 37722333


Dietary Patterns and Healthy or Unhealthy Aging.

Dominguez LJ, Veronese N, Barbagallo M.
Gerontology. 2023 Oct 26. doi: 10.1159/000534679. Online ahead of print.

PMID: 37883935 Review.


How and why ultra-processed foods harm human health.

Levy RB, Barata MF, Leite MA, Andrade GC.
Proc Nutr Soc. 2023 Jul 10:1-8. doi: 10.1017/S0029665123003567. Online ahead of print.

PMID: 37424296 Review.


Processed Foods – Getting Back to The Basics.

Mohamed Elfadil O, Patel J, Patel I, Ewy MW, Hurt RT, Mundi MS.
Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2021 Oct 13;23(12):20. doi: 10.1007/s11894-021-00828-z.

PMID: 34643777 Review.