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2/3 of Calories in Children and Teen Diets Comes From Ultraprocessed Foods

Publicado em 10 agosto 2021

New examine in JAMA additionally discovered children and teenagers eat much less unprocessed and minimally processed meals.

The energy that kids and adolescents consumed from ultraprocessed meals jumped from 61% to 67% of complete caloric consumption from 1999 to 2018, in line with a brand new examine from researchers on the Friedman College of Vitamin Science & Coverage at Tufts College. Printed August 10, 2021, in JAMA, the examine analyzed dietary consumption from 33,795 kids and adolescents nationwide.

“Some entire grain breads and dairy meals are ultraprocessed, they usually’re more healthy than different ultraprocessed meals. Processing can maintain meals more energizing longer, permits for meals fortification and enrichment, and enhances shopper comfort,” mentioned senior and corresponding writer Fang Fang Zhang, diet epidemiologist on the Friedman College. “However many ultraprocessed meals are much less wholesome, with extra sugar and salt, and fewer fiber, than unprocessed and minimally processed meals, and the rise of their consumption by kids and youngsters is regarding.”

The biggest spike in energy got here from such ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat dishes as takeout and frozen pizza and burgers: from 2.2% to 11.2% of energy. The second largest spike in energy got here from packaged candy snacks and desserts, the consumption of which grew from 10.6% to 12.9%.

There was a bigger improve within the consumption of ultraprocessed meals amongst non-Hispanic Blacks (10.3%) and Mexican Individuals (7.6%) than non-Hispanic Whites (5.2%). Tendencies in different racial/ethnic teams weren’t assessed as a result of lack of ample knowledge that enable for nationally consultant estimates throughout survey cycles.

There have been no statistically vital variations within the general findings by parental schooling and household revenue. “The shortage of disparities primarily based on parental schooling and household revenue signifies that ultraprocessed meals are pervasive in kids’s diets,” mentioned Zhang. “This discovering helps the necessity for researchers to trace traits in meals consumption extra absolutely, considering consumption of ultraprocessed meals.”

Over the examine interval, energy from usually more healthy unprocessed or minimally processed meals decreased from 28.8% to 23.5%. The remaining proportion of energy got here from reasonably processed meals corresponding to cheese and canned vegetables and fruit, and consumer-added taste enhancers corresponding to sugar, honey, maple syrup, and butter.

There was excellent news: Energy from sugar-sweetened drinks dropped from 10.8% to five.3% of general energy, a 51% drop.

“This discovering exhibits the advantages of the concerted marketing campaign over the previous few years to cut back general consumption of sugary drinks,” mentioned Zhang. “We have to mobilize the identical power and degree of dedication in terms of different unhealthy ultraprocessed meals corresponding to truffles, cookies, doughnuts and brownies.”

“In extra analyses, we in contrast the composition of ultraprocessed meals to non-ultra processed meals utilizing knowledge from the 2017-2018 interval. We discovered that ultraprocessed meals include a considerably larger p.c of energy from carbohydrates and added sugars, and better ranges of sodium, but in addition had much less fiber and a decrease proportion of energy from protein,” mentioned the examine’s first writer, Lu Wang, a postdoctoral fellow on the Friedman College.

“Meals processing is an often-overlooked dimension in diet analysis. We may have to contemplate that ultraprocessing of some meals could also be related to well being dangers, impartial of the poor nutrient profile of ultraprocessed meals typically,” concluded Zhang.

Ultraprocessed Meals

Ultraprocessed meals are ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat objects usually excessive in added sugar, sodium, and carbohydrates, and low in fiber, protein, nutritional vitamins, and minerals. They sometimes include added sugars, hydrogenated oils, and taste enhancers. Examples embody packaged candy snacks and desserts, sugary breakfast cereals, French fries, quick meals burgers, and a few lunchmeats corresponding to bologna and salami. When consumed in extra, these meals are linked with diabetes, weight problems, and different severe medical situations, corresponding to sure cancers.


This new examine is a part of a collection led by Friedman College researchers investigating patterns and traits in weight loss plan high quality amongst U.S. adults and kids. The examine characterised traits in ultraprocessed meals consumption amongst U.S. kids aged 2-19 years from 1999 to 2018, general and amongst inhabitants subgroups, utilizing knowledge from 10 consecutive cycles of the Nationwide Well being and Vitamin Examination Survey (NHANES). It additional assessed main ultraprocessed meals subgroups consumed by U.S. kids within the newest cycle of NHANES (2017-2018) and related nutrient profiles. The typical age of individuals was 10.7 years and was roughly equally divided between girls and boys. It relied on 24-hour dietary recall interviews performed by skilled personnel; older kids and teenagers instantly reported on the meals they ate whereas dad and mom and caregivers did so for youthful kids. The proportion of energy consumed by individuals was decided utilizing the NOVA food classification system developed by researchers on the College of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Reference: 10 August 2021, JAMA.

DOI: 10.1001/jama.2021.10238

This examine was supported by the Nationwide Institutes of Well being’s Nationwide Institute on Minority Well being and Well being Disparities (award R01MD011501) to Fang Fang Zhang, and the São Paulo Analysis Basis (FAPESP) awarded to co-author Eurídice Martínez Steele. The content material is solely the duty of the authors and doesn’t essentially characterize the official views of the Nationwide Institutes of Well being. For conflicts of curiosity disclosure, please see the examine.

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