In a new study, researchers suggest that people need to stop eating packed food.
This is because packed food products are high in energy, saturated fat, sugar, and salt.
They are ultra-processed and generally unhealthy.
The research was conducted by a team from Northwestern Medicine.
About 80% of Americans’ total calorie consumption comes from store-bought foods and beverages.
The food and beverage supply play a big role in the development of chronic disease including obesity and heart disease.
Previously, the team had shown that bread, in particular, has 12% higher sodium content in the U.S. in comparison to the U.K.
In the study, the team analyzed 230,156 products and found 71% of products such as bread, salad dressings, snack foods, sweets, sugary drinks and more were ultra-processed.
Among the top 25 manufacturers by sales volume, 86% of products were classified as ultra-processed.
“Ultra-processed food and beverages” are defined as products that “are made entirely or mostly from substances extracted from foods (oils, fats, sugar, starch, and proteins).”
Compared to other western countries like Australia, the U.S. food supply is similarly healthy but more processed with higher median sugar and sodium content.
The team hopes the findings provide new information for consumers, researchers, and policymakers to encourage food manufacturers to replace unhealthy products.
They also want to inform the U.S. government on where action may be needed to improve the healthfulness of the U.S. packaged food and beverage supply.
The team has launched the U.S. version of FoodSwitch, a free mobile phone app that allows consumers to scan packaged foods to determine their healthfulness.
The lead author of the study is Abigail Baldridge, a biostatistician in the department of preventive medicine.
The study is published in the journal Nutrients.
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