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The Science of Ultra-Processed Food

A 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods leads to [1][2]:

"Real food is what the world ate for millennia without risk of long-term disease" (Robert Lusting)

The consumption of ultra-processed food is linked to many diseases, including cancer, depression, cardiovascular disease [3][4][5], and Non-communicable diseases like metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes [6][7]. Diets relying on highly processed foods are associated with exposure to industrialized preservatives and pesticides [8].

Processed food is defined by seven engineering criteria [9]: The degree of food processing is provided by the NOVA classification system [12], a manual curation which defines four discrete categories: The NOVA classification does not offer the degrees of processing for foods, hence all food in the ultra-processed NOVA4 class are considered equally ultra-processed. Consequently, 60% of the global, 73% of the USA, and 80% of the South Africa food supply is classified ultra-processed [1][13][14][15].

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