14% of adults suffer addiction to ultra-processed food – Study

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A new study has claimed that addiction to ultra-processed food affects 14% of adults, global study shows

The report also estimates about 12% of children are hooked to these types of food. It calls for further research into problem.

One in seven adults and one in eight children may be hooked on ultra-processed foods (UPFs), experts have said, prompting calls for some products to be labelled as addictive. There has to be a desire to halt the problem to good degree.

The health danger of ultra-processed food

Recent studies have linked UPFs such as ice-cream, fizzy drinks and ready meals to poor health in several departments. These include as follows below:

  • an increased risk of cancer
    weight gain
    heart disease.

Global consumption of the products is steadily increasing and UPFs now make up more than half the average diet in the UK and US, and even in some parts of the less developed world.

Now, some researchers say the way some people consume such foods could could be a cause for diagnosis of substance use disorder.

Behaviours that could meet this criteria include:

  • intense cravings
    symptoms of withdrawal
    less control over intake
    continued use despite such consequences as obesity
    binge eating disorder
    poorer physical and mental health
    lower quality of life

The study examined an analysis of 281 studies from 36 different countries, published in the BMJ. It found that “ultra-processed food addiction” was serious as it is estimated to occur in 14% of adults and 12% of children.

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The academics said that if some foods high in carbohydrates and fats were to be officially categorized as “addictive”, it could help improve health through changes to social, clinical and political policies.

“There is converging and consistent support for the validity and clinical relevance of food addiction,” said Ashley Gearhardt, the article’s corresponding author and a psychology professor at the University of Michigan in the US.

Experts believe that by acknowledging that certain types of processed foods have the properties of addictive substances, humans may be able to help improve global health.

The authors also maintain that the speed in which these foods deliver carbohydrates and fats to the gut could also play a role in their “addictive potential”.

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