Ultra Processed Food Needs Tobacco Style Warnings, Says Nutrition Scientist.

Strongly calling up public health campaigns against tobacco, a well-known nutritional scientist is advocating for warning labels on ultra-processed foods (UPFs) as in the case of tobacco warnings.

Professor Carlos Monteiro of the University of São Paulo, who first named the term ‘ultra-processed foods’, told The Guardian in a conference thatUPFs are increasing their share in and domination of global diets, despite the risk they represent to health in terms of increasing the risk of multiple chronic diseases.”

He further stated that public health campaigns should include the health risks possessed by Ultra Processed Food products warnings should be displayed on the front of packets like cigarettes and their advertisement should also be restricted.

This advice is given amid the rising worries about the potential health effects of these highly modified foods, which are becoming commonplace in regular diets.

What is Ultra Processed Food?

  • Ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are edibles that have been industrially prepared and are either produced from other organic substances or natural food.
  • These foods usually consist of a variety of preservatives, additives, and substances.
  • These products contain 5 or more ingredients and goes through several processing steps.

Health concerns regarding Ultra-Processed Food

  • Nutritional Quality: UPFs tend to be poor in important nutrients, fiber, and protein and heavy in added sugars, harmful fats, and salt. This inadequate nutritional profile may be a factor in a number of health problems.
  • Obesity: Because UPFs have a high calorie density and a low satiety value, which might encourage overeating, their use is associated with weight gain and obesity.
  • Metabolic Disorders: Consuming UPFs on a regular basis has been linked to a higher risk of metabolic conditions such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
  • Digestive Problems: The absence of fiber in UPFs may have a detrimental impact on gut bacteria and cause digestive issues including constipation.
  • Cancer Risk: Due to chemicals, pollutants, and the nutritional imbalance of these foods, certain studies have linked high intake of UPFs to a higher risk of developing specific malignancies.

Additives found in Ultra-Processed Food

  • Emulsifiers, sweeteners, artificial colors, flavor and preservatives, designed to enhance appearance, taste, and shelf life of the food products.

Examples of Ultra-Processed Food

  • Packaged snacks, cookies/biscuits
  • instant soups/ noodles, ready-to-eat/heat meals
  • candy, soft drinks fall into this category.

Healthy alternatives of Ultra Processed Foods

  • By replacing packaged snacks with fresh foods, like apples, berries, carrots and cucumbers, for a nutritious and satisfying snack.
  • It’s best to choose homemade food “using whole, unprocessed ingredients” at mealtimes.

According to surveys, there is broad popular support for UPF warning labels, indicating a desire for increased openness and well-informed decision-making.


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