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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) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday November 21, @02:48AM (3 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 21, @02:48AM (#1333678) Homepage Journal

    definition include things like chips,

    I grew up eating Snyder's potatoe chips. They were real chips. Slices of potatoes dumped into a deep fat fryer, then salted. The ingredients list was short: potatoes, fat, salt. You knew what you were getting, and they were actually marginally nutritious.

    Today, "chips" have a long list of crap in them. And, I have little idea which of them have any nutrition in them.

    I can't get Snyder's where I live. The best chips I can get locally are Lay's. Now, Lay's makes a helluva lot of mystery things they call "chips", but their "classic" chips still have 3 ingredients: potatoes, fat, and salt. I seldom eat any other kind of chips. And, no, Lay's doesn't taste like Snyder's. They use a different salt, and a different fat.

    Of course, the fat is the biggest taste factor. Who remembers when McDonald's fried their fries in beef tallow? When they switched to vegetable oil, the taste of the fries changed drastically. Most vegetable oils are crap anyway.

    Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, @04:19AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, @04:19AM (#1333688)

    If you like potatoes, why not bake some (microwave, turning a few times), then slice and re-fry in butter to desired crispiness. Leave the skins on! Salt if you must, but I never even bother.

    Nothing that comes in a plastic bag is going to compete with that.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday November 21, @12:19PM (1 child)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 21, @12:19PM (#1333715) Homepage Journal

      Good point - and in fact I have made my own French fries at home. I prefer the air fryer to the microwave. Toss the fries in a bowl with a bit of butter, or olive oil before cooking, they come out really nice. But, I don't have the skill or the tool to slice those wafer thin slices of potatoes like you find in potato chip bags. Additionally, it's probably difficult and tedious to arrange all those potato chips so they cook evenly. French fries are relatively easy to arrange on a tray, compared to potato chips. Your observation is accurate, but, as I say, I lack the skill and the patience to do it right.

      Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, @03:13PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, @03:13PM (#1333738)

        > wafer thin slices

        This is the obvious way to increase the ratio of grease & salt : potato. Thin slices means more surface area. I'd rather have more potato, but that's just me.

        A nice story about the history of potato chips/crisps - [] (no idea if it's all true...) suggests that they have only been around for a couple of hundred years. A blink of an eye compared to the evolution of our digestive system...