Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests UPFs or Ultra Processed Food can be considered as a part of a balanced diet. The report came when UPFs have become so common in the American menu, except the Hispanics. 

Research Suggests Ultra Processed Foods As A Part Of Balanced Diet

Despite there being a great decrease in UPFs consumption among adults of all socioeconomic groups, a group of nutrition experts has confirmed that there is nothing it can do to imbalance the overall diet. 

Research Suggests Ultra Processed Foods As A Part Of Balanced Diet

The study revolves around the report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This was based on the data collected from over 41,000 adults aged 19 years and old between 2001-2018. With the help of this data, experts have calculated the percentage of calories with respect to various food types. These include minimally processed foods, culinary ingredients that are processed, the processed food category as well as the ultra-processed.

According to the data, UPFs consumption in Americans has increased to 57% from 53.5% of total calories. At the same time, the data indicates a significant decrease in the consumption of minimally processed foods. While digging deeper, it is obvious that the greatest number of UPFs food varieties consumed include instant canned soups, pies, cakes, cookies, meats, fish items, and frozen or shelf-stable meals. 

The other types of foods with a higher consumption rate are hamburgers, sandwiches, and frozen pizza. Whereas, there is a significant reduction of popular foods in their consumption rate, as those include, breakfast cereals, ice cream, soda, bread, meatless patties, and fish sticks. 

The researchers also suggest that they could collect some positive data during their studies. First of all, it is the significant reduction of the intake of added sugars from 1999-2016. At the same time, there is less consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, nearly half from 2013-2016. 

Experts who aren’t involved in the study also give preference to the safety of adding UPFs in a balanced diet. They indicate that many food varieties which come under the category of UPFs can be an art of an overall balanced diet, as they can lead to increased nutrient density. Experts also note that choosing these foods also saves time as they require low preparation time, or can be put on the table quickly. 

Especially shelf-stable meals like frozen pizza can be included in this category. Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, FAND, an associate clinical professor emeritus with the department of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and owner of Cut to The Chase Nutrition suggests that pairing pizza with salad or fruits can round out the meal. It is because, he says pizza is basically bread, cheese, and tomato sauce a positive combo. 

According to the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, consuming sandwiches and burgers can contribute to protein, potassium, calcium, and fiber. However, in the American diet, these foods also contribute whole grain, dairy, and vitamin D, as well as vegetables. Meanwhile, the consumption of cereal has significantly reduced to make people eat more fruits. 

Author

Isla Zyair is a registered nutritionist with more than 20 years of hands-on experience in plant nutrition and sustainability. She has completed a master’s in Sustainable Food Systems, Prescott College. She is known for her love for green vegetation and has been a plant-based dietician. She has a love for natural food and has been living a vegan lifestyle. Isla lived with her parents They were farmers who grew their own food living in the suburbs. She is a knowledgeable person who published books on Nutrition Eating Plans for Achieving Optimal Health. She is one of the most sought-after personalities on social media and has been part of books on nutrition.

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