This small-scale study is the first randomized controlled study – considered the gold standard in science – to investigate the effects of ultra-processed food. They are defined as containing industrial ingredients such as hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, flavorings and emulsifiers.
During a one-month study, 20 healthy adult volunteers stayed at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, where all their meals were provided to them. For 14 days they were in turn limited to every diet and told they could eat as much or as little as they wanted.
The two versions of meals had the same amounts of calories, sugars, fiber, fat and carbohydrates. For example, the unprocessed breakfast can be oatmeal with bananas, walnuts and skimmed milk, while the other consisted of a bagel with cream cheese and bacon with turkey.
Participants practiced about the same number every day throughout the study.
People ate faster about the ultra-processed diet while consuming about 500 more calories per day (by taking extra help) then they did during the unprocessed diet; this increase in calories was due to higher amounts of carbohydrates and fat but not to proteins. As a result, they arrived – on average about 0.9 kilograms or 2 kilos. While on the diet of unprocessed food, they lost an equal amount of weight.
The gender of the participants, the order of their diet assignment and their body mass index did not influence the varying calories that each participant ate on each diet, according to the study authors.
The ultra-processed food caused people to eat too many calories and arrive, they concluded.
Engineered and heavily processed Foods can be difficult to restrict for reasons that go beyond just taste, the researchers noted. For example, the weekly cost of a 2000-calorie diet of prepared meals was estimated at $ 106, compared to $ 151 for the more natural meals.
It also takes more time to prepare fewer processed foods, they said.
Fitzgerald recommends reviewing the back of a package of ready-made food. "Look at the ingredients list. Do you understand all the ingredients that end up in your food?" she asked. Only buy those products "with the least number of ingredients and with ingredients that you understand."
The authors of the study suggest that consumer confusion is another aspect of this problem.
"The ongoing diet wars between factions that promote low carbohydrates, keto, paleo, high-protein, low-fat, vegetable, vegan and a seemingly endless list of other diets have led to great public confusion and distrust in food science." "Limiting the consumption of ultra-processed foods can be an effective strategy for the prevention and treatment of obesity."