The Biden administration could warn Americans against eating chicken nuggets, white bread and breakfast cereals in the biggest shift in dietary recommendations in decades.
Since the 1970s, the federal government has recommended people avoid foods high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat and consume more vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein.
However, a wealth of research in recent years has shown that eating highly processed foods – those filled with artificial flavors, colors, additives and ingredients – can cause a number of chronic diseases.
For the first time, the expert panel that decides what Americans eat will examine the science of obesity and ultra-processed foods for its next rules in 2025.
It could lead them to discourage staples of the American diet like chicken nuggets, sweetened breakfast cereals and packaged mac and cheese.
DailyMail.com has found that snacks, quick meals and even salad kits can contain up to 120 hard-to-pronounce ingredients, making them extremely processed
Numerous studies show that eating too many processed foods dramatically increases the risk of early death, dementia and heart disease
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years.
The committee is studying whether consumption of highly processed foods affects growth, height, body composition, risk of overweight and obesity weight loss and maintenance.’
These guidelines determine which foods are included in the National School Lunch Program, which serves 30 million U.S. children.
Currently, highly processed foods like pizza, Lunchables and Cheez-Its can be found on school menus across the country.
Because even though they’re full of additives, they technically meet government standards for fat, protein, sodium and whole grains.
These regulations also determine what food is provided through government assistance programs and on military bases.
Many foods that are generally considered healthy, such as whole grain bread and salad packets, are still considered processed
The federal dietary guidelines were first published in the United States in 1977 senate Select the Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs Nutrition Goals for the United States.
Key goals included “avoid obesity,” “increase consumption of complex carbohydrates and “naturally occurring” sugars,” and “limit sodium intake by reducing salt intake to about 5 grams per day.”
In 1980, this was changed to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which outlined seven principles for a healthy diet and recommended limiting sugar, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.
WHAT ARE ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS?
Highly processed foods are high in added fat, sugar and salt, low in protein and fiber and contain artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives.
The term covers foods that contain ingredients that you wouldn’t add when cooking at home – such as chemicals, colors and preservatives.
Some of the most popular examples include microwave meals, ice cream, sausage, fried chicken, and ketchup.
They are different from processed foods that are processed to make them last longer or to improve their taste, such as deli meats, cheese and fresh bread.
Highly processed foods such as sausages, cereals, cookies and carbonated drinks are formulations that consist largely or entirely of substances derived from food and additives.
They contain little or no unprocessed or minimally processed foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds and eggs.
The foods are typically filled with sugar, oils, fats and salt, as well as additives such as preservatives, antioxidants and stabilizers.
Highly processed foods are often presented as ready to eat, taste good and are inexpensive.
Source: Open Food Fact
Highly processed foods have gone through several stages of processing and are usually full of particularly difficult to pronounce fats, colors and preservatives. They target reward systems in the brain, similar to those triggered by tobacco products and illicit drugs.
Common examples include microwave meals, snack mixes, and ice cream.
These foods have become ubiquitous in the American diet.
A 2022 For example, a study by Northeastern University’s Network Science Institute estimated that 73 percent of the United States’ food supply is highly processed.
And a study published in Limits in nutrition found that more than 60 percent of calorie intake in the United States comes from these foods.
Numerous studies have shown that these foods can have harmful health effects.
A clinical study from 2019 National Institutes of Health found that when participants were fed a diet containing highly processed foods, they consumed 500 additional calories per day and gained weight much faster than when it was mostly unprocessed foods.
A 2022 study A study published in the journal Neurology found that a 10 percent increase in consumption of highly processed foods could increase the risk of dementia.
Furthermore, a large cohort study in France showed that the same increase in ultra-processed foods led to an increased risk of breast cancer.
A global comparison study The study, published in Obesity Reviews, showed that an increase in per capita sales of highly processed foods and beverages was associated with a higher body mass index (BMI).
The USDA’s considerations have already sparked backlash from the food industry. More than a dozen trade and food industry lobby groups have written letters to the government urging leaders to be cautious about recommendations on highly processed foods.
In September, the Institute of Food Technologists wrote that food processing helps “make food last longer and improve its shelf life, which minimizes food waste, is more affordable for consumers because they waste less, and ensures food and nutritional security when fresh.” Food may not be available or accessible.’
And a letter from the American Frozen Food Institute said the USDA committee “should not make recommendations on the level of food processing as part of dietary recommendations.”
At least six other countries have issued guidelines urging people to limit consumption of highly processed foods. In May, Mexico warned citizens to “avoid highly processed foods such as processed meats and sausages, chips, crackers, cookies, sweet breads and packaged cereals.”
In August, researchers in Britain claimed the country was facing a crisis “A tidal wave of damage” from highly processed foods.
The USDA’s list of considerations states that updated questions will be available when the committee formally begins reviewing the guidelines.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk