Title: Ultraprocessed Foods Linked to Health Risks; Concerns Raised Over Pervasive Use of Laboratory-Created Ingredients
Ultraprocessed foods have been found to have a higher risk of causing cancer, heart disease, obesity, and premature death, according to recent research. Shockingly, estimates suggest that a staggering 71% of the food supply in the United States contains laboratory-created ingredients, contributing to these health threats.
A key characteristic of ultraprocessed foods is the incorporation of additives rarely or never found in domestic kitchens. Preservatives, emulsifiers, artificial colorings, dyes, and other chemical substances are among the additives dominating the ingredient list in these products. Such additives are extensively utilized during the industrial production process, which includes techniques such as extrusion, molding, and prefrying to make the final product more “predigested.”
Recognizing the impact of ultraprocessed foods on public health, CNN has developed a remarkable tool that allows users to design their own lunch using popular fast-food and lunch café options. The tool calculates how many of an individual’s daily food choices contain ultraprocessed ingredients with the aim of encouraging healthier dietary decisions.
While the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers food additives as “generally recognized as safe,” concerns persist regarding their true safety. Watchdog groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Environmental Working Group maintain lists of chemicals found in food that raise significant concerns about their potential health risks.
Fortunately, some grocery stores and restaurants have taken proactive steps to address these concerns by banning worrisome chemicals from their foods. With increasing consumer awareness, these establishments are recognizing the importance of offering healthier options and eliminating potentially harmful ingredients.
Responding to these concerns, the National Restaurant Association has stated that the restaurant industry provides a wide variety of choices to meet dietary needs. However, they acknowledge that processed ingredients are sometimes used to enhance food safety, improve nutrition, or reduce food waste.
As public awareness grows surrounding the dangers of ultraprocessed foods, it is essential for consumers to educate themselves about the potential health risks associated with these products. By making informed choices and supporting establishments that prioritize health and safety, individuals can take control of their own health as well as influence the industry towards a healthier future.