'Ultra-processed' food is obesogenic and must be made less available & affordable, say researchers
Hyper-palatable and attractive, with a long shelf-life and energy-dense nutritional profile, ultra-processed foods are designed to be eaten anywhere, any time - and they are contributing to Europe's expanding waistline, according to this international study.
“The association between consumption of ultra-processed foods and obesity is consistent with the obesogenic nutritional profile of these foods,” wrote lead author Carlos Augusto Monteiro from the University of São Paulo's School of Public Health.
Using national surveys, reports and peer-reviewed papers, the researchers estimated the prevalence of obesity in a number of European countries, which they then cross-referenced with national food consumption data.
Prevalence of obesity ranged from 7.1% in France and 8.2% in Italy, which also had the lowest levels of ultra-processed foods, to nearly one quarter (24.5%) in the UK, which also had the highest intake of ultra-processed foods.
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