Evidence demonstrates ultra-processed foods can have a negative impact on our health

Children who regularly consume ultra-processed foods are more at risk of living with overweight, high blood sugar levels and less good cholesterol, new evidence has highlighted.

Latest research, led by the University of Rovira i Virgili’s (URV) Human Nutrition Unit, has found that children who consume a lot of ultra-processed foods are more likely to experience poor cardiometabolic health compared to those with a lower intake.

During the trial, the team of scientists analysed how ultra-processed foods impacted 1,500 children aged between three and six, all of whom are taking part in the CORALS multicentre study.

They found that the children with a high consumption of ultra-processed foods were more likely to have a higher fat mass index, BMI and waist circumference, as well as increased blood sugar levels.

In addition, those who regularly eat ultra-processed foods are more at risk of having lower levels of HDL cholesterol in their blood – otherwise known as good cholesterol.

Lead researcher Nancy Babio said: “Our findings give cause for concern.

“Although the magnitude of the associations we found could be thought to be of limited clinical importance, the boys and girls taking part in our study were very young but, even so, there was a significant relationship between their consumption and these parameters.”

High in saturated fat, sugar, salt, additives and pollutants, ultra-processed foods lack healthy nutrients.

Mass-produced bread, biscuits, sausages, fruit-flavoured yoghurts, ham, breakfast cereals, crisps, ice cream and instant soups are examples of ultra-processed foods.

Nancy Babio said: “It is essential to recognise the importance of early eating habits and their future implications on cardiometabolic health.”

Women with little education are more likely to have children who frequently eat ultra-processed foods compared to those who are educated.

Joint author Jordi Salas-Salvadó said: “Taking all this into account, public health policies should be targeting vulnerable populations.”

The study has been published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Conversation about doctors’ appointments occurring virtually rumbles on

More than half of GP appointments are still being delivered remotely in…

Type 2 diabetes found to be a ‘significant risk factor’ among stroke victims

More evidence has been published which supports that diabetes is a “significant…

Public Health England considers low carb approach for type 2 diabetes

The low carb approach is being considered by the government to be…