Friday , December 4 2020

We know that our food has been processed. Why are we constantly eating it? – National

Researchers at the US National Institutes of Health wanted to know: does ultra-processed food make us fat?

While many children and nutrition advice – including the Canadian Food Guide – recommend avoiding highly processed foods, researchers have written that no randomized, controlled trials have ever been done to prove the relationship.

That's why they decided to do an experiment. Twenty people lived in the research hospital for about a month and were randomly assigned to eat a diet containing either ultra-processed food or unprocessed food in two weeks at a time, and then the groups switched.

People on an ultra-processed diet ate things like cut white bread, yogurt with fruit flavor, hot dog and ravioli in a can. In unprocessed eating there were plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables with eggs, grilled meat and plain yogurt.

According to results published this month in the Cell Metabolism magazine, people who ate an ultra-processed diet ate, on average, about 500 calories more daily than the unmanaged group and received about 2 pounds over two weeks. The unmanaged group lost the same amount of weight.

Meals received by both groups did not differ much in nutritional content or calories. People could eat as much as they like or how much they want. Because they lived in a hospital, their diet was strictly controlled and their activity was monitored.

People just ate more than ultra-processed food – and they ate faster.

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Researchers are not sure why.

"What we can say from our study is that the differences in energy intake were not related to reported differences in the appetite, taste or knowledge of a child," says Dr. Stephanie Chung, coauthor of work and associates. -director of the program for the research of metabolism at the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

"We found that the meal rate is higher in the ultra-processed diet, which is associated with more food consumed. It is possible that ultra-processed food is easier to chew and swallow and that this could delay the satiety signals. "

Further research is needed to determine whether the food texture has made a difference, she said.

Ultra-processed food and health

This small experiment has shown a link between ultra-processed food and weight gain. However, there were many studies that found correlations between ultra-processed food and various health problems.

A couple of studies published Wednesday in the British Medical Journal have shown that the consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and an increased mortality rate of all causes, with higher risks people eat with ultra-processed foods.

"When compared to non-ultra-processed foods, (ultra-processed foods) have a very low nutritional quality because they tend to have high content of free sugar, sodium or saturated fats and provide you with less protein, fiber, vitamins. and minerals, "said Jean-Claude Moubarac, nutrition assistant at the University of Montreal.

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Almost all foods are processed in some way; for example, sour cucumbers, grinding of flour, canning tuna and other such activities, he explained. What distinguishes ultra-processed foods is its reliance on refined substances and additives.

The results are, as he said, harmful to health.

"They are not suitable for human consumption," he said.

Consuming a lot of ultra-processed foods means eating less raw foods, which means that you miss out on its nutritional benefits, he said.

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But despite health risks, Canadians eat a lot – less than half of calories come from ultra-processed foods, according to a recent study from the heart and stroke.

Building "even more" snacks

The continued appeal of ultra-processed foods is by design, according to an article and a book by researcher New York Times, Michael Moss Salt, Sugar, Fat – named after the ingredients we all know and love. Companies have designed their food to be more appealing, with attention to details such as salt levels or the exact crunch of chips from potatoes, he found in his research.

Canadians, especially children, receive half a day's calories from ultra-processed foods

Tastes, originally added to replace some of the natural flavors lost during processing, are getting stronger and stronger, said Chris Lukehurst, director of research at the marketing clinic, a British marketing company counting Dr. Pepper, Nestle and Kraft among their customers.

"What you will almost always find is something that has a stronger taste that will work better," he said.

"At first we think it's more attractive and encourages us to eat faster."

He gave an example of potato chips.

"Typically, they will have a rather intense taste for the start, which will then fall," he said. This encourages you to eat more chips to get the same intensity of taste.

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Natural flavors tend to be more "rounded and subtle," he said, and it was best developed when he chewed for a long time. "It's more satisfying in the long run."

It's not just about taste, Lukehurst said, but how you feel about food. Eating giant chocolate instead of apples may not make you feel good at the end.

"It depends whether they feel good after eating it or not, whether they really return to it," he explained.

Francesco Larry, a professor of psychology at the University of Guelph, who studied the idea of ​​"food addiction", agrees that food is associated with emotions. He chooses what he is eating based on what he enjoys, what is available, what they are accustomed to, what they are told to want, and what is said to them healthy, he said.

"These are various elements," said Larry.

Switching to simpler food

Ultra-processed food is also cheap, easy to prepare, convenient and long lasting. For people who do not have the time, energy and money to cook from scratch, switching to less-crafted alternatives can be difficult, even though Moubarac believes this is available.

"The most expensive thing in our diet is meat and dairy products," he said. "If you pick legumes and cereal, it's not that expensive."

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He also hopes for changes in our food systems so that unprocessed foods become widely available, even to those who do not have the time and resources to cook themselves.

"I think we have to think in terms of innovation, as we can cook together? How can we make real food and make meals everywhere? ", He said.

"Parents could go and pick up their kids at a nursery and pick up a meal for dinner. I think that when we agree that cooking is important, I'm sure the options will appear. "

The industry is moving to less processed foods, says Lukehurst, partly as a response to consumer demand for healthier alternatives and more complex tastes of natural flavor. But he does not think ultra-processed food will disappear.

"At the end of the day, the consumer is the final arbiter. If they buy it, people will continue to make it, "he said.

"And as long as there is a market for cheap food, which will always exist, I think processing is the answer to that."

© 2019 Global Nevs, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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