Researchers at Tufts University and the University of São Paulo found that “ultra-processed foods” make 57.9 percent of the average American’s calorie intake. While frozen foods are often lumped together with all the other sugar-packed, oil-ladden, calorie-dense but nutrient-poor foods, the researchers felt it necessary to make a distinction in terminology and refer to ultra-processed as “formulations of several ingredients which, besides salt, sugar, oils, and fats, include food substances not used in culinary preparations, in particular, flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers and other additives used to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations or to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product.”
And while it doesn’t necessarily comes as a surprise, the percentage is worrisome especially due to the added sugar that is found in most ultra-processed and even canned foods that make 9.4 percent of the diet for average Americans. It’s been linked to not only growing waistlines but also diseases such as diabetes and cancer and to issues like increasing adult and childhood obesity.
But although it’s hard to deny that healthier diet is more expensive than the one consisting of fast food, processed and frozen products, the healthy diet investment really pays off in the long run against medical bills.
With this illustrating number, I’d say simple diet swaps would make a big impact on people’s weight. Besides calorie rich foods aren’t always the best option. What you should be looking for is nutrients. We urban people don’t need that much energy and the calorie rich foods don’t have much nutritional value.