Research Shows Increase of Ultra-Processed Foods in Adolescents’ Diets

The results of two decades of research show that highly processed foods make up 2/3 of the calories in adolescents’ diets.

From 1999 to 2018, the number of calories that children and adolescents consumed highly processed foods jumped from 61% to 67%.

Senior and Corresponding Author Fang Fang Zhang, a nutrition epidemiologist at Friedman School, called, “Some whole grain breads and dairy products are ultra-processed and are healthier than other ultra-processed foods. Processing can keep food fresher for longer, enable fortification and fortification of foods and increase consumer convenience. But many highly processed foods are less healthy with more sugar and salt and less fiber than unprocessed and minimally processed foods, and the increase in their consumption by children and adolescents is worrying. ”

The largest calorie peaks came with ready meals such as pizza, frozen meals and take-away as well as with packaged snacks and desserts.

The data showed greater increases in ultra-processed calories in black youth diets. The study found that more research is needed to determine the reasons for this. Conversely, Mexican-American teenagers consumed fewer highly processed foods that researchers speculate could be due to more homemade meals.

The study’s lead author, Lu Wang, Postdoc at Friedman School, called, “In additional analyzes, we compared the composition of ultra-processed foods with non-ultra-processed foods using data from the period 2017-2018. We’ve found that ultra-processed foods are a significant one higher calorie content made of carbohydrates and added sugar and a higher sodium content, but also had less fiber and a lower calorie content from protein. “

Highly processed foods are classified as ready-to-eat foods heavily processed. Many are much higher in carbohydrates, sodium, and sugar. In the absence of an alkaline diet like protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins.

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