Ultra-processed foods are addictive, but not because of taste Science | Extensive reports on science and technology | DW


A whole bag of chips is around 1,200 calories – or 30 peaches. Why do we sometimes "slip" and eat a whole bag of chips while we watch with a Netflix snort, but never "slip" and eat 1,200 peach calories?

People are more likely to overeat and consequently gain weight when they consume ultra-processed foods, or "formulations mostly of cheap sources of energy and nutrients plus additives, using a series of processes", according to an experiment outlined. in a recent study published in Cellular metabolism.

"Ultra-processed foods" is an elegant way to say "junk food" – like chips, candy and soda.

The answer to the questions about chips and peaches can be obvious: the chips taste better! According to the study, however, this logic does not add up. Scientists have discovered that the likelihood that people eat too much has little to do with taste.

Read more here: The problem of Ghana obesity related to junk food

Burger in chains

Hamburgers with soft, rubbery sandwiches can cause delayed satiety

L & # 39; experiment

Eating candy and chips has long been associated with adverse health effects, but scientists have not shown a causal relationship between the two in a controlled environment.

In an experiment conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health in the United States, 20 healthy adults stayed in a research unit for four weeks and were randomly assigned to an ultra-processed or unprocessed diet for the first half of their stay, and alternate for the second half.

Unprocessed diets consisted of products such as grilled meat, barley and salads, while processed diets consisted of hamburgers, fries, macaroni and cheese. Meals were similar in calories, sugar and fat. Participants were given three meals a day, along with snacks, and were allowed to eat as much as they wanted during each meal.

The researchers found that people treated with the ultra-processed diet consumed about 500 calories more than those of the unprocessed diet, and consequently gained about one kilogram of weight over two weeks. The participants in the unprocessed diet lost a kilogram of approximate weight over time.

Although the participants rated their meals as full and satisfying as their ultra-processed meals, they ate much more during ultra-processed meals.

The study also described a higher "consumption rate" among those in the ultra-processed diet, in practice, they ate faster.

Previous studies have outlined a link between the ingestion of soft and chewable foods (such as white bread and macaroni and cheese) and delayed reporting of satiety. To put it simply, you are more likely to feel fuller faster after eating 350 calories of grilled chicken with green beans than when you drink a 350-calorie milkshake.

Read more here: Can a junk food tax save the Navajos?

Bag of chips

Artificially colored chips are more likely to be ultra-processed


Highly processed foods were first introduced in the industrial revolution because they served a purpose: they were cheap.

"Ultra-processed foods are cheaper and cheaper than preparing meals with unprocessed whole foods and culinary ingredients," the study said.

In the experiment, the weekly cost of ultra-processed food was about $ 150 for untreated meals and $ 100 for hyper-processed meals.

While acknowledging the health effects of over-processed foods, the study acknowledged that it does not address the way in which consumer choices between ultra-processed and unprocessed meals can be influenced by cost and convenience.

Read more here: WHO: commercials for junk food, sweets and beer to combat obesity

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