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Highly processed foods contribute to poor eating regimen quality amongst Japanese adults

In a recent study published within the journal Public Health Nutrition, researchers explore the intake of highly processed foods (HPF) with respect to overall eating regimen quality.



Study: Consumption of highly processed foods in relation to overall eating regimen quality amongst Japanese adults: A nationwide study. Image Credit: Ilia Nesolenyi / Shutterstock.com

What are HPFs?

Over the past several years, various epidemiological studies have explored the health outcomes related to HPF consumption. Meta-analysis data indicate that HPF intake is linked to being chubby or obese, in addition to the event of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cerebrovascular disease, depression, and death.

As in comparison with non-HPFs, HPFs are related to an unhealthy nutrition profile resulting from their higher total fat, trans fat, saturated fat, sodium, and free sugar content, together with their lower protein, vitamin, fiber, and mineral content. Thus, the consumption of HPFs, particularly in high amounts, may reduce eating regimen quality.

In regards to the study

In the current study, researchers assess the association between HPF intake and eating regimen quality amongst Japanese adults.

Food plan-related information from a nationwide survey performed from February to March 2013 was used for the present evaluation. A complete of 388 people, which included 196 and 192 men and ladies, respectively, participated from different Japanese regions.

A four-day dietary record (DR) was used to acquire information on the participants’ dietary habits. Participants were asked to document all the pieces they ate and drank on 4 consecutive days, which involved weighing all food and drinks through the study period.

The names of the dishes, whether the dishes were made at home, away from home, or elsewhere, the names of the ingredients present in the dishes, and estimated amounts or weights of the foods that were eaten were also recorded.

Using the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) method, all foods mentioned within the DR were categorized as minimally processed or unprocessed, basic processed, moderately processed, and highly processed. The Standard Tables of Food Composition in Japan (STFCJ) was used to find out how much energy and nutrients everyone consumed over 4 days based on the nutrient value and weight of every food item.

Results

The typical age of the study cohort was 44.5 years, whereas their average body mass index (BMI) was 23.3 kg/m2. When dishes made away from home were broken down by food group, cereals and starchy foods were the largest contributors to overall energy consumption from HPFs, followed by fish, meat, eggs, sweets, fats and oils, and alcoholic drinks. When food-level grouping was used, these food groups were in the highest five of the very best energy consumers.

When meals made away from home were put within the dish category as an alternative of the food category, they contributed far more energy. Comparatively, for unprocessed or minimally processed, basic processed, and moderately processed foods, the dish-level classification provided much smaller estimates of energy contributions as in comparison with the food-level classification. There was a robust link between the energy contributions of foods in each processing group on the dish and food level.

The typical amount of energy consumed didn’t change between tertile groups; nonetheless, the typical amount of some food groups modified. For instance, people in higher tertiles ate fewer cereals and starchy foods, vegetables, fruits, pulses, fish, meat, and eggs, but more sweets, alcoholic drinks, seasonings and spices, and oils and fats.

The typical Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015) rating was 51.1, whereas the typical Nutrient-Wealthy Food Index 9.3 (NRF9.3) rating was 621.9.

For dish- and food-level classifications, participants in the upper tertiles of energy input of HPFs exhibited reduced HEI-2015 component and total scores with respect to total vegetables, beans, greens, added sugars, added sugars, and total protein foods, and better scores for refined grains. Moreover, when dish-level categorization was used, only those in the highest tertiles had a lower rating for saturated fat.

Conclusions

About one-third of all energy that was consumed by the study participants was provided by HPFs. Importantly, the upper amount of energy in HPFs was linked to a lower quality eating regimen, no matter whether dishes made away from home were sorted into their individual ingredients before being grouped by the extent of food preparation.

These findings indicate that reducing the consumption of HPFs may very well be an efficient public health technique to improve the standard of diets. Nevertheless, more research is required to develop effective programs and policies to enhance the standard of the Japanese eating regimen in relation to HPF reduction.

Journal reference:

  • Shinozaki, N., Murakami, K., Asakura, K., et al. (2023). Consumption of highly processed foods in relation to overall eating regimen quality amongst Japanese adults: A nationwide study. Public Health Nutrition; 1-33. doi:10.1017/S1368980023000721
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