Ultra-processed foods' health risks

Eat predigested food? Many popular packaged foods—bread, cereals, snack chips, and frozen meals—have been refined, crushed, heated, melted, molded, extruded, and packed with additives.

Research reveals that food's industrial processing can affect hunger, hormones, weight gain, and the risk of obesity and chronic diseases.

Extreme processing creates predigested meals. Experts say many foods are tailored to override satiety, causing overeating and weight gain.

Scientists now call highly processed foods ultra-processed. Most foods are processed.

Processing plants wash, peel, chop, and bundle fresh veggies like baby carrots before they reach supermarket stores.

Ultra-processed meals transform simple ingredients into industrial goods with unique aromas, additives, and textures, many of which are not found in nature.

Two corn-based foods. Governments worldwide agree that ultra-processed meals are unhealthy.

Brazil, Belgium, Israel, and Uruguay have developed dietary guidelines that specifically advise against eating ultra-processed foods.

In the US, where ultra-processed foods account up 58% of calories, government specialists are investigating the link between obesity.

But packaged food advocates claim processed foods are crucial to the food supply.

Bryan Hitchcock, chief science and technology officer for the Institute of Food Technologists wrote in an email that processed foods make food more economical.

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