Research reveals half our daily calories come from ultra-processed foods, and that kids are the biggest consumers
New research commissioned by Heart & Stroke shows that ultra-processed food consumption in Canada continues to increase and is alarmingly high, accounting for almost half of our daily calorie intake. Most troubling is that young people get more than half their calories from ultra-processed foods – more than any other age group. The highest consumers are kids ages 9–13 who get 57% of their calories from these energy-dense, nutritionally-lacking products.
“Ultra-processed food consumption increased from 47.7% of our daily calories in 2004 to 48.3% in 2015. Consumption of these products is high amongst all socio-economic groups,” says Dr. Jean-Claude Moubarac, an assistant professor at the University of Montreal, and author of the report.
Newcomers consume considerably less of their calories from ultra-processed foods than those born in Canada.
An earlier study shows that the most important change in Canadian dietary patterns between 1938 and 2011 was the replacement of diets based on freshly prepared meals and dishes made from unprocessed or minimally processed foods for diets dominated by ultra-processed foods. Similar trends have been reported from other high-income countries and now also from middle-income countries.
Diet has a significant impact on the health of Canadians, and ultra-processed foods are nutritionally poor. The more ultra-processed food products consumed, the poorer the overall nutritional quality of diets.
Recent data reveal that unhealthy diets are now the leading risk factor for death in Canada. Canadians are unfortunately the second largest buyers of ultra-processed foods and drinks in the world, second only to Americans. READ MORE
Dec 05, 2017