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posted by hubie on Monday November 20, @06:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the recommended-daily-amount-of-Cheez-Its dept.

Nutrition experts are reviewing data on ultra-processed foods for 2025 guidance:

For the first time, health experts who develop the federal government's dietary guidelines for Americans are reviewing the effects of ultra-processed foods on the country's health—a review that could potentially lead to first-of-their-kind warnings or suggested limits in the upcoming 2025 guidance, The Washington Post reports.

Such warning or limits would mark the first time that Americans would be advised to consider not just the basic nutritional components of foods, but also how their foods are processed.

[...] Deirdre K. Tobias, a member of the guidelines advisory committee, told the Post that the study suggested ultra-processed foods seem to promote higher "passive intake" of calories beyond what our bodies need and that the numerous epidemiological studies suggesting a link between eating ultra-processed foods and having a higher risk of many diseases is "as compelling as it can be." She declined to comment directly on the upcoming guidelines, noting that the committee's work is underway.

The Post also notes that the food industry has strongly pushed back—writing directly to the committee telling them not to issue any warnings or limits. One key point of contention is that there is no exact or established definition of what counts as "ultra-processed." Generally, it is considered to include any industrially produced food product with artificial combinations of flavors and additives, such as artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers, and synthetic colors. Products that easily fit the definition include things like chips, frozen dinners, boxed sweetened cereals, chicken nuggets, and boxed macaroni and cheese.

Much to the dismay of nutrition experts, the National School Lunch Program allows its 30 million participating schools to serve products clearly in the ultra-processed food category, including Domino's pizza, Lunchables, and Cheez-Its. Currently, the products must only meet the federal dietary guidance's standards for things like sodium, fat, protein, and whole grains—regardless of how many other additives they include.


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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Opportunist on Monday November 20, @08:16PM (7 children)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Monday November 20, @08:16PM (#1333649)

    Anyone heard about the Nutri-Score [wikipedia.org]? Dunno if that's in use outside of France and Germany. The industry gamed the fuck out of it. There's a few ways the scoring mechanism can be abused that turns white bread with no nutritional value (other than causing sugar spikes) into a top-health food and omega-3 rich fish into a nutritional disaster because it's too fatty.

    The weird bit is the more processed and manufactured the food is, the better it can be "adjusted" to fit the criteria for a "good" score, which results in ultraprocessed food to be top rated while unprocessed and "natural" products getting the dump ratings.

    Why would I expect anything less to happen here?

    Rest assured, the industry will read VERY carefully what is defined as what and will tweak their kibble to be as "unprocessed" as they can get away with.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by VLM on Monday November 20, @09:02PM (6 children)

    by VLM (445) on Monday November 20, @09:02PM (#1333653)

    The industry gamed the fuck out of it.

    Best summary of the whole topic we'll see.

    What we're going to end up with is warning stickers on raw beef tenderloin steaks warning that they're "ultra-processed" but oreos, tide pods, and fake milk products will be marketed as "unprocessed".

    Our overlords have been working against their own population for so long, that the concept of them doing something "good for the people" is cynically impossible to believe in. I'm sure it'll end up as a scam.

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by crafoo on Monday November 20, @10:45PM (5 children)

      by crafoo (6639) on Monday November 20, @10:45PM (#1333663)

      I agree. But consider this: we establish this institution and then we deport all foreign nationals in our government. we populate all elected and unelected positions in government with nationalists. Then we begin publicly executing the board of directors of companies that are poisoning our food and water supplies. People will quickly get the message.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday November 21, @02:54AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 21, @02:54AM (#1333682) Journal
        Priorities seem a bit misplaced here. There isn't a lot of poisoning of food and water supplies contrary to narrative and we have humane and sensible punishments that fall well shy of execution. Instead, I consider murderous "nationalists" a bigger problem than that. If those would-be nationalists are willing to work within the rule of law - including such things as due process and sentences proportionate to the crime, that's one thing. "Then we begin publicly executing the board of directors of companies" isn't that.
      • (Score: 3, Disagree) by PiMuNu on Tuesday November 21, @08:38AM

        by PiMuNu (3823) on Tuesday November 21, @08:38AM (#1333703)

        The French revolution didn't end well.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by r_a_trip on Tuesday November 21, @09:29AM (2 children)

        by r_a_trip (5276) on Tuesday November 21, @09:29AM (#1333706)

        How wonderfully xenofobic. Only "foreign" nationals are working tirelessly towards poisoning the populace. Members of the "good ol' boys network" would never do that, right?

        I'd rather have a government official with a migrant background working towards food safety than a member of the established "good ol' boys network" trying to eek out another billion in profits by twisting food laws.

        • (Score: 1, Troll) by VLM on Tuesday November 21, @11:23PM (1 child)

          by VLM (445) on Tuesday November 21, @11:23PM (#1333799)

          Only "foreign" nationals are working tirelessly towards poisoning the populace.

          The number of coincidences is, however, enormous.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 22, @07:21AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 22, @07:21AM (#1333832)

            +1 Funny or -1 Troll. Fingers twitching...