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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: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 20, @10:11PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 20, @10:11PM (#1333659)

    Even when I was in K-12 (mostly during the 1960s) the school cafeteria food was pretty bad, unrecognizable meat, lots of re-constituted mashed potatoes and the cheapest frozen veges boiled to near mush. There were no vending machines--I went back to visit a year after graduation and still remember being disgusted to see soft drink (Coke, etc) vending machines in the lunchroom...and wondering which members of the school board had been paid off...

    I brought a lunch from home almost all the time (had the cafeteria food a few times, ugh). At the time I was the weirdo/outcast who had a sandwich on whole grain (often homemade) bread and birdseed (gorp + some other nuts & seeds). Now I'm grateful that my mother took the time to do this for me, and of course that my father made enough to afford the extra costs.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Monday November 20, @10:37PM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Monday November 20, @10:37PM (#1333661) Journal

    The wretchedness of school lunch food affected me in a good way. I wouldn't eat it. I was thought undernourished and underweight. I wasn't, but you know how standards of health were too narrow back in those days.

    It's been an age long battle, but American food and lifestyle is finally gaining the upper hand on me now. Many factors conspire to make it difficult to eat healthy. Living with an overweight person is one of the biggest. That has a lot of subtle knock on effects, in addition to the obvious problems of the fridge and pantry being filled with unhealthy food. Like, the overweight person will not get enough rest, stays up too late. Thinks work is more important. That makes it harder for the rest of the family to go to bed at a reasonably early hour. The overweight workaholic will even demand others stay up a little longer to do one or two more things before going to bed, accusing the rest of us of laziness. You get the munchies when you stay up late. I have read that sort of thing even leads to pets being obese.