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Nutrition and health. The issue is not food, nor nutrients, so much as processing

Department of Nutrition Director, School of Public Health University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Public Health Nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.48). 06/2009; 12(5):729-31. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980009005291
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Rates of overweight and obesity have increased dramatically in all regions of the world over the last few decades. Almost all of the world’s population now has ubiquitous access to low-cost, but highly-processed, energy-dense, nutrient-poor food products. These changes in the food supply, rather than decreases in physical activity, are most likely the primary driver of population weight gain and obesity. To-date, the majority of prevention efforts focus on personalised approaches targeting individuals. Population-wide food supply interventions addressing sodium and trans fat reduction have proven highly effective and comparable efforts are now required to target obesity. The evidence suggests that strategies focusing upon reducing the energy density and portion size of foods will be more effective than those targeting specific macronutrients. Government leadership, clearly specified targets, accountability and transparency will be the key to achieving the food supply changes required to address the global obesity epidemic.
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    ABSTRACT: The global burden of non-communicable diseases partly reflects growing exposure to ultra-processed food products (UPPs). These heavily marketed UPPs are cheap and convenient for consumers and profitable for manufacturers, but contain high levels of salt, fat and sugars. This study aimed to explore the potential mortality reduction associated with future policies for substantially reducing ultra-processed food intake in the UK. We obtained data from the UK Living Cost and Food Survey and from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. By the NOVA food typology, all food items were categorized into three groups according to the extent of food processing: Group 1 describes unprocessed/minimally processed foods. Group 2 comprises processed culinary ingredients. Group 3 includes all processed or ultra-processed products. Using UK nutrient conversion tables, we estimated the energy and nutrient profile of each food group. We then used the IMPACT Food Policy model to estimate reductions in cardiovascular mortality from improved nutrient intakes reflecting shifts from processed or ultra-processed to unprocessed/minimally processed foods. We then conducted probabilistic sensitivity analyses using Monte Carlo simulation. Approximately 175,000 cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths might be expected in 2030 if current mortality patterns persist. However, halving the intake of Group 3 (processed) foods could result in approximately 22,055 fewer CVD related deaths in 2030 (minimum estimate 10,705, maximum estimate 34,625). An ideal scenario in which salt and fat intakes are reduced to the low levels observed in Group 1 and 2 could lead to approximately 14,235 (minimum estimate 6,680, maximum estimate 22,525) fewer coronary deaths and approximately 7,820 (minimum estimate 4,025, maximum estimate 12,100) fewer stroke deaths, comprising almost 13% mortality reduction. This study shows a substantial potential for reducing the cardiovascular disease burden through a healthier food system. It highlights the crucial importance of implementing healthier UK food policies.
    PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0118353. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0118353 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Everyday great amounts of food are produced, processed, transported by the food industry and consumed by us and these activities have direct impact on our health and the environment. The current food system has started causing strain on the Earth's natural resources and that is why sustainable food production systems are needed. This review article discusses the need for sustainable diets by exploring the interactions between the food industry, nutrition, health and the environment, which are strongly interconnected. The most common environmental issues in the food industry are related to food processing loss, food wastage and packaging; energy efficiency; transportation of foods; water consumption and waste management. Among the foods produced and processed, meat and meat products have the greatest environmental impact followed by the dairy products. Our eating patterns impact the environment, but the environment can impact dietary choices as well. The foods and drinks we consume may also affect our health. A healthy and sustainable diet would minimise the consumption of energy-dense and highly processed and packaged foods, include less animal-derived foods and more plant-based foods and encourage people not to exceed the recommended daily energy intake. Sustainable diets contribute to food and nutrition security, have low environmental impacts and promote healthy life for present and future generations. There is an urgent need to develop and promote strategies for sustainable diets; and governments, United Nations agencies, civil society, research organisations and the food industry should work together in achieving this. © The Author(s) 2015 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav.
    Food Science and Technology International 02/2015; DOI:10.1177/1082013215572029 · 0.98 Impact Factor

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