Ultraprocessed (!) Foods

iStock_000022086164_MediumWhat in the world is an ultraprocessed food and what does it have to do with your health?  Lots, a study in the BMJ asserts, and Rick and I agree on PodMed this week.  Let's start first with their definition: ‘ultraprocessed foods’ (formulations of several ingredients which, besides salt, sugar, oils and fats, include food substances not used in culinary preparations, in particular, flavours, colours, sweeteners, emulsifiers and other additives used to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed
or minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations or to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product).  Hmmm.  I simplify this to a foodstuff capable of surviving a nuclear blast unscathed, and we all know which foods those are, perhaps even having some of them in our very own kitchen cabinets, where they've resided for several years. Okay, what about the health risk? Turns out that NHANES data reveal that ultraprocessed foods comprise a whopping almost 60% of the average American diet, and provide us with 90% of our consumption of added sugars.  Since said sugars are linked in many studies to obesity and its host of nasty health consequences, as well as high blood pressure, stroke, coronary artery disease and the more pedestrian dental caries, the WHO recommends reducing consumption.  Et voila! Simply eliminate those ultraprocessed consumables and all will be well.  Rick and I would also like to thank the authors for expanding our vocabulary.

Other topics this week include long term results of peanut feeding to infants in NEJM, and a look at incompatible kidney recipients in the same journal. Finally, we example the obesity paradox in Annals of Internal Medicine.  Until next week, y'all live well.

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