Ultra-processed foods could be putting you at risk of severe health problems

The Nova system, developed by scientists in Brazil more than a decade ago, splits food into four groups based on the amount of processing it has gone through. Unprocessed foods include fruit, vegetables, nuts, eggs and meat. Processed culinary ingredients which are usually not eaten alone include oils, butter, sugar and salt

Important Takeaways:

  • One in six British adults say they are addicted to ultra-processed foods, according to new research.
  • Eating a lot of ready meals, sugary cereals or mass-produced bread has been linked with health problems such as heart disease and some cancers.
  • These ultra-processed items – which normally don’t contain ingredients found in a normal home kitchen – often lack essential nutrients while typically high in added sugar, fat and salt, additives and other chemicals.
  • However, most adults say they regularly consume food they consider to be ultra-processed.
  • Nearly nine in ten said they eat ultra-processed food (UPF) at least once a week. A quarter said that they eat UPFs every day.
  • Concerningly, 17 per cent considered themselves addicted. The findings come from a survey of 5,000 adults carried out by healthy-eating platform Lifesum, which also found a third ate UPFs when stressed. A further third enjoyed the convenience.

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