A brand new study just published by Kevin Hall and Colleagues has set out to discover whether a diet of ultra-processed foods affect energy intake in 20 weight stable adults.
First of all, lets back up slightly and define what exactly an ultra-processed food is: -
“formulations mostly of cheap industrial sources of dietary energy and nutrients plus additives, using a series of processes” (Monteiro et al, 2018)
They are inexpensive, have long shelf-life, are relatively safe from the microbiological perspective, provide important nutrients, and are highly convenient – often being either ready-to-eat or ready-to heat.
Ultra-processed foods have become increasingly common worldwide and now constitute the majority of calories consumed in America.
It has been postulated that ultra-processed foods are contributing to the obesity epidemic via various mechanisms, including: -
They are typically high in calories, sugar, salt and fat
Have been theorised to disrupt gut-brain signalling which may influence intake of these foods independent of palatability or energy density of the food
So, the purpose of this study was to examine whether there is a causal relationship between ultra-processed food consumption and obesity.