According to various research papers, our 57.9 percent diet is consist of ultra-processed food items. These processed food items are creating some the biggest heath issues in the United States.
The food contains a lot of artificial ingredients, which are dangerous for health, but the most important thing revealed in the study is top ingredient of process food: SUGAR.
The research monitored the eating habits of 9317 Americans and it revealed that 89.7 percent of calorie intake comes from artificial sugar added in the processed food items. The percentage of sugar intake doesn’t include the natual sugar like fructose, lactose, etc.
Most of the countries have highlighted the over-consumption of sugar in their current policies. Some of the countried that highlighted the sugar intake issue are Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, American Heart Association, and UK National Health System. Their reports have concluded that extra intake of sugar results in obesity, weight gain, high blood pressure, cancer, stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
While keeping the facts revealed in the study, here is a short list of ultra-processed foods that should be avoided by everyone in order to retain their health.
1. Mass-Produced Soft Drinks
One of the biggest culprits contributing to the sugar problem is mass-produced soda, with 35 grams of sugar per 12-ounce can. According to the study, soft drinks contribute to 17.1 percent of the U.S. intake of added sugars, while fruit drinks — which are different as far as marketing is concerned, but not so much in terms of nutrition — clocked in at a whopping 13.9 percent.
Reports recently released by the USDGAC recommended limiting added sugars to no more than 10 percent of total calories, 5 percent lower than the average consumption of added sugars in the U.S. from 2005 to 2010. Soda doesn’t help to lower this average: with 100 percent of the total calories in soda coming from sugar and 140 calories per serving, an adult consumes 7 percent of his or her average total calorie intake with just one soda a day.
2. Packaged Baked Goods
Put down that Twinkie! Packaged baked goods are yet another culprit for added sugars, and ultra-processed foods like these are easy to binge eat without thinking.
“Ultra-processed foods are designed to appeal to our taste buds, and can often lead us to crave more,” Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told CBS News. “These foods are ones that can be eaten mindlessly, making it easy to overeat them without even realizing how much you are having.”
This is definitely true for the “cakes, cookies and pies” category from the study, which came in at 11.2 percent of the U.S. intake of added sugars.
And don’t be fooled by so-called “healthy” options in this category. Added sugars, according to the study, include molasses, honey, and “all types of syrup, such as maple syrup.” One popular granola bar brand that prides itself on being healthful lists sugar as the second ingredient (not to mention honey as the fifth and brown sugar syrup as the seventh), with 11 grams of sugar per serving.
3. Processed Bread
Bread might not be the first food you think of when you consider the ultra-processed category, but processed bread was one of the most common ultra-processed foods in terms of energy contribution in the study, contributing 7.6 percent to the U.S. intake of added sugars.
One household brand of processed sliced bread has 4 grams of sugar per slice and upwards of 30 ingredients; meanwhile, homemade or artisanal bread can have as few as three or four ingredients, none of which is necessarily sugar.
By cutting out these foods, according to the study authors, Americans can vastly improve their health and reduce their consumption of sugar. The study authors note that while most dietary guidelines recommend limiting sugar consumption, “such guidelines are not always clear on how to put this recommendation into practice.” Limiting or removing these foods from our diets entirely may be the first step.