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Ultra-processed Food and Obesity: What Is the Evidence?

Dicken, Samuel J; Batterham, Rachel L; (2024) Ultra-processed Food and Obesity: What Is the Evidence? Current Nutrition Reports , 13 (1) pp. 23-38. 10.1007/s13668-024-00517-z. Green open access

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Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Obesity is a growing global healthcare concern. A proposed driver is the recent increase in ultra-processed food (UPF) intake. However, disagreement surrounds the concept of UPF, the strength of evidence, and suggested mechanisms. Therefore, this review aimed to critically appraise the evidence on UPF and obesity. RECENT FINDINGS: Observational studies demonstrate positive associations between UPF intake, weight gain, and overweight/obesity, more clearly in adults than children/adolescents. This is supported by high-quality clinical data. Several mechanisms are proposed, but current understanding is inconclusive. SUMMARY: Greater UPF consumption has been a key driver of obesity. There is a need to change the obesogenic environment to support individuals to reduce their UPF intake. The UPF concept is a novel approach that is not explained with existing nutrient- and food-based frameworks. Critical analysis of methodologies provides confidence, but future observational and experimental research outputs with greater methodological rigor will strengthen findings, which are outlined.

Type: Article
Title: Ultra-processed Food and Obesity: What Is the Evidence?
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s13668-024-00517-z
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13668-024-00517-z
Language: English
Additional information: © 2024 Springer Nature. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Ultra-processed food, Obesity, Dietary guidelines, NOVA, Diet, Public health
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10189938
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