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A new survey by British Nutrition Foundation: Healthy ultra-processed foods

A recent survey by the British Nutrition Foundation reveals an increasing concern about ultra-processed foods. However, the survey also suggests that certain ultra-processed foods can be part of a balanced diet and offer convenience to busy individuals. The term “ultra-processed foods” refers to industrially processed foods containing additives.

While sugary drinks, pastries, and takeaway items fall into this category, foods like wholemeal bread, breakfast cereals, baked beans, pasta sauces, and fruit yogurts are also classified as ultra-processed. These foods provide essential nutrients and can be an affordable and quick option for a balanced meal. The survey shows that people often associate ready meals, vegetarian meat alternatives, and packaged breakfast cereals with ultra-processed foods. However, fewer respondents classified items like baked beans, low-fat fruit yogurts, ice cream, and sliced bread as ultra-processed. The survey suggests that while cooking from scratch is ideal, incorporating healthier processed foods can make healthy eating more accessible and convenient. The study emphasizes the need to make healthy eating affordable and easier for everyone.

There is a published paper in Nutrition Bulletin, entitled How do we differentiate not demonise – Is there a role for healthier processed foods in an age of food insecurity? Proceedings of a roundtable event.

This is accompanied by an editorial by Professor Ciaran Forde Processing the evidence to evaluate mechanisms, costs and future solutions.

In addition, the British Nutrition Foundation published its Position statement on the concept of UPF on its website, along with an accompanying press release.