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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: 3, Insightful) by stormreaver on Tuesday November 21, @12:06AM (2 children)

    by stormreaver (5101) on Tuesday November 21, @12:06AM (#1333672)

    ...which has seemingly had no impact on what manufactures make or what consumers eat.

    All the warnings in the world won't do a damned thing if there aren't reasonable alternatives. Products made without shitloads of added sugar or salt are so few and far between that they almost don't exist. It's a full-time job to find them, and then it requires a second job to pay for them.

    And then there's all the preservatives, which is a whole other issue.

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday November 21, @03:01AM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 21, @03:01AM (#1333684) Journal

    All the warnings in the world won't do a damned thing if there aren't reasonable alternatives.

    Or the people consuming these products aren't interested in the alternatives. It's not like the risks of processed food are something new.

    Products made without shitloads of added sugar or salt are so few and far between that they almost don't exist.

    Eh, I don't know where you're looking for these alleged products, but I haven't had trouble finding them even in low end grocery stores even among highly processed foods.

  • (Score: 1) by cereal_burpist on Wednesday November 22, @02:24AM

    by cereal_burpist (35552) on Wednesday November 22, @02:24AM (#1333817)

    All the warnings in the world won't do a damned thing

    Just like tobacco products. Denis Leary summed it up perfectly in 1992:

    He wants the whole front of the pack to be the warning. Like the problem is we just haven't noticed yet. Right? Like he's going to get his way and all of the sudden smokers around the world are going to be going, "...HOLY SHIT! These things are bad for you!" ...
    Doesn't matter how big the warnings are. You could have cigarettes that were called the warnings. You could have cigarettes that come in a black pack, with a skull and a cross bone on the front, called Tumors and smokers would be lined up around the block going, "I can't wait to get my hands on these fucking things! I bet you get a tumor as soon as you light up!