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Ultra-processed foods and type-2 diabetes risk in the sun project: A prospective cohort study

Science Direct

The study assessed 20,060 participants (61.5% women) from the SUN project (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) followed-up every two years. Food and drink consumption were evaluated through a validated 136-item food frequency questionnaire and grouped according to their degree of processing by the NOVA classification. The study found that a higher intake of ultra-processed food was independently associated with a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Read more

Covid 19 coronavirus: Junk food companies accused of ‘Covid-washing’ during lockdown

NZ Herald 
20 of the biggest junk and fast food brands in New Zealand have been accused of “Covid-washing” by pushing their products on the back of the nation’s lockdown according to a study from the University of Auckland. The study analyzed nearly 1400 social media posts and found about 27 per cent of the posts related to Covid-19 themes, of which more than a third linked a brand with community spirit. The study’s lead author, Dr Sarah Gerritsen, said Covid-washing portrayed a company as empathetic and contributing in a meaningful way to the pandemic response.”When, in reality, it was just another strategy to promote products and choices that are detrimental to health.” Read more

Raiding your cupboards like a vending machine? Big Food is feeding our snack addiction

USA Today  
Big Food is using our deepest human instincts against us to make their products more addictive than ever, and then maneuvering to exploit our efforts to regain control of our health. In the early days of COVID-19, manufacturers of cookies, crackers and chips saw sales jump nearly 30% as people loaded up on items they hadn’t had since childhood. And now, the companies aren’t about to let us go. Read the article

Why you need to eat fewer ultra-processed foods like frozen pizza and granola bars

The Globe and Mail 
A steady intake of ultra-processed foods has been linked to an increased risk of chronic health problems such as obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. Now, findings from a large Italian study add to mounting evidence that ultra-processed foods should be limited. Added sugars in these foods, as well as the processing methods used to make them, may contribute to their harmful effects. Read the Globe and Mail article 

Consumption of ultra-processed foods in Canada

Statistics Canada 
A new Statistics Canada study found that the overall dietary share of ultra-processed foods remains high among Canadians, accounting for more than half of the daily energy intake among children and teenagers in 2015 (the most recent year for which data was available). However, dietary energy contributions of soft drinks, fruit juices and fruit drinks declined between 2004 and 2015, particularly among children and adolescents. Read the study

Television advertising limits can reduce childhood obesity, study concludes

Science Daily 
Limiting the hours of television advertising for foods and beverages high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) could make a meaningful contribution to reducing childhood obesity, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Oliver Mytton of the University of Cambridge, UK, and colleagues. Researchers estimate the ban would cut childhood obesity by 40,000 and save the UK £7.4billion in lost productivity. One in three children in England leaves primary school overweight, increasing their risk of cancer, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes substantially.  Read the article

Efficacy of “High in” Nutrient Specific Front of Package Labels—A Retail Experiment with Canadians of Varying Health Literacy Levels

Nutrients

Health Canada put forward a regulatory proposal in 2018 to introduce regulations requiring a “High in” front-of-package label (FOPL) on foods that exceed predetermined thresholds for sodium, sugars, or saturated fat. This study evaluated the efficacy of the proposed FOPL as a quick and easy tool for making food choices that support reduction in the intakes of these nutrients. Overall, FOPL was significantly more effective than current labeling at helping consumers of varying HL levels to identify foods high in nutrients of concern and make healthier food choices. All FOPL were equally effective. Read the article

Coronavirus: Snacking and family meals increase in lockdown

BBC
A study of lockdown eating from the Guy’s and St Thomas’s Charity and the Bite Back 2030 healthy eating charity, studied over 1,000 14-19 year olds and found contrasting trends for more unhealthy snacks, but also more shared meals as families spent more time at home together. It also found a widening social divide in healthy and unhealthy eating. The report describes snacking as the “biggest negative consequence” in eating habits during the pandemic, with a 40% increase in snacks. Young people in poorer families were “more likely to snack, less likely to eat fresh fruit and vegetables” than their wealthier counterparts. Read the article here

Over 100 doctors call for tax on junk food to handle obesity epidemic

Metro Newspaper (UK) 

A group of around 200 doctors and healthcare professionals signed an open letter to ministers putting forward a number of proposals to overhaul the UK’s ‘unfair, unhealthy and unsustainable’ food system when the pandemic passes. This includes a tax on foods that are high in salt and fat, a tax on food derived from animal agriculture, subsidies for plant-based diets, a return of public sector catering to stop processed meat being served in schools and hospitals and that the ban on junk food advertising is accelerated and made total, banning such advertising even after the watershed. Read the article here

Study of supermarket meals gives food for thought

Medical Xpress 
A recent study in Australia found that supermarket ready-to-eat-meals generally should have been classified as unhealthy, but still received a passing grade from the Health Star ranking system.  Lead researcher Dr. Claire Pulker from the School of Public Health at Curtin University said 54 percent of the meals were found to be unhealthy according to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. As more people are buying these products due to COVID-19, it is important that they understand the health risks. Read more