Two years ago, a study by researcher Kevin Hall made headlines when it reported that ultra-processed foods led people to overeat and gain weight. Hall and others are still trying to figure out what makes us overdo it. Here’s the latest.
Bread, bagels, buns, breakfast cereals, pizza crust, pancakes, pretzels, pastries, chips, cookies, cakes, ice cream, soda. Most are made with highly processed white flour, sugar, or both. Are those “fast carbs” harming us?
There’s no good evidence that low-carb diets are a magic bullet for weight loss. But many people eat too many refined carbs, not just from sweets but from oversized servings of pasta, pizza, burritos, burgers, and sandwiches made with white flour, along with the chips or fries that are served on the side.
In a petition submitted to the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on August 29, 2019, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Consumer Reports called on the agency to stop requiring the terms “Uncured” and “No Nitrate or Nitrite Added” on labels for meat processed with nitrates or nitrites from non-synthetic sources, such as celery powder.
Too much sugar. Too many carbs. Too many calories. Too much (or too little) fat or meat or dairy. Too little exercise. Too much TV. There’s no shortage of alleged culprits to explain the obesity epidemic. Now a landmark study offers the first solid evidence that heavily processed foods play a role.
Our environment is saturated in calories—cheap, tempting, unnecessary calories. You can’t run errands without dealing with a constant barrage of junk foods. Human brains aren’t designed to say no to them, though they do our health no favors.
Why are two out of three adults and one out of three children overweight or obese? One explanation: Extra calories from cheap, convenient, ultra-processed foods have increasingly flooded the food supply.