Ultra-processed Foods Now Comprise 2/3 of Calories in Children and Teen Diets

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MedicalXpress.

The calories that children and adolescents consumed from ultra-processed foods jumped from 61% to 67% of total caloric intake from 1999 to 2018, according to a new study from researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University. Published in JAMA, the study analyzed dietary intake from 33,795 children and adolescents nationwide.

“Some whole-grain breads and dairy foods are ultra-processed, and they’re healthier than other ultra-processed foods. Processing can keep food fresher longer, allows for food fortification and enrichment, and enhances consumer convenience,” said senior and corresponding author Fang Fang Zhang, nutrition epidemiologist at the Friedman School. “But many ultra-processed foods are less healthy, with more sugar and salt, and less fiber, than unprocessed and minimally processed foods, and the increase in their consumption by children and teenagers is concerning.”

The largest spike in calories came from such ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat dishes as takeout and frozen pizza and burgers: from 2.2% to 11.2% of calories. The second-largest spike in calories came from packaged sweet snacks and desserts, the consumption of which grew from 10.6% to 12.9%.

Over the study period, calories from often healthier unprocessed or minimally processed foods decreased from 28.8% to 23.5%. The remaining percentage of calories came from moderately processed foods such as cheese and canned fruits and vegetables, and consumer-added flavor enhancers such as sugar, honey, maple syrup, and butter.

There was good news: Calories from sugar-sweetened beverages dropped from 10.8% to 5.3% of overall calories, a 51% drop.

Source: MedicalXpress
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-08-ultraprocessed-foods-comprise-calories-children.html

Help us reach the next generation of families

Donate
Back to Top

[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has over 35 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns, HomeWord seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches. Learn More »

  • Support Our Mission

    HomeWord is non-profit, donor supported ministry. If you would like to partner with HomeWord in our effort to help more parents and families you can make a donation. Your investment will allow us to expand this ministry by offering more resources to families and churches in need.

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA
      92693

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)

Close