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Ultra-Processed Food, Chronic Disease, and COVID-19

Interpress Service reports that: “COVID-19 has exposed serious vulnerabilities in how people around the world access and consume food.

One of the more alarming trends is the significant increase in the consumption of foods that may be tasty and convenient, but harm our health. These ultra-processed products include sugary drinks, snack foods, frozen meals, packaged breads and frozen desserts.

In the half century or so since they have been available, ultra-processed products have largely displaced traditional diets, pushing healthy food options off of store shelves. Ultra-processed products comprise more than half of diets in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom, and between one-fifth and one-third in Brazil, Mexico and Chile

These low-nutrient foods, which are ready to eat or ready to heat, have become a dominant player in our food system and are now among the most aggressively promoted and marketed products in the world.

Ultra-processed products are booming globally. While sales are highest in Australia, the United States and Canada, they are increasing rapidly in middle-income countries including China, South Africa and Brazil. And worryingly, children and low-income people in communities with fewer healthy food choices, are often the primary targets of ultra-processed product marketing.”

Learn more: For Healthier Food Systems: Turn the Tide Against Ultra-Processed Products