More than half of the best-selling foods in the supermarket are ultraprocessed and, therefore, potentially harmful to health, according to a study carried out by the El CoCo healthy feeding app on the eating habits of the Spanish. A trend against the principles of the Mediterranean diet and the recommendations of the World Health Organization and the European Commission
The main conclusion of this analysis by The Coco, the free application that detects ultraprocessed and helps families choose the healthiest foods, shows that most of the usual consumer products in Spanish households (64%) are ultraprocessed foods (Nova 4), that is, industrial products that have a minimal presence of natural ingredients and an excess of saturated fats, salt and simple sugars.
An alarming figure since, according to various international studies, continued consumption of ultra-processed foods may be related to weight gain and with a probability of 10% higher in developing diseases such as some types of cancer. “The impact on the health of ultraprocessed foods is already a fact tested by the scientific community, which confirms that these products make us fatten more, or even associate them with a higher risk of death. Consumers know it, and yet we consume many products that we think are healthy deceived by packaging and marketing,” says Jean-Baptiste Boubault, co-founder of El CoCo. In fact, “some ultra-processed are products that we perceive as ‘not as healthy’, such as industrial pastries or snacks, but there are also others as they can be smoked, preservatives or children’s food, which enter the ultra-processed category without being aware of it.”
This pilot study, the first in Spain that contemplates at a quantitative level the degree of processing and the nutritional quality of the usual consumer products in the households, has analyzed the degree of processing, the nutritional quality and the presence of additives and simple sugars in 124 foods corresponding to the 35 most sold high consumption brands in our country, according to the ranking Kantar Brand Footprint Spain 2018.
Predominates the purchase of foods with low nutritional quality
In addition, according to the Nutriscore international classification system, 59% of the products analyzed have low nutritional quality (letras C, D and E), resulting in deficiency in fiber, proteins, vitamins and minerals, which are the nutrients that should be part of the daily balanced diet. Correo temporal gratis
Currently more than half of the energy intake of countries such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom is composed of ultraprocessed foods, and as shown by this study by El CoCo, it also seems to be in Spain. The report confirms, through objective data, that until the 18% of the most consumed products are not only ultraprocessed, but also have very poor nutritional quality (letra E in Nutriscore). “These are products that contribute nothing to our body and that can be harmful if we consume them continuously. Most often contain large amounts of simple sugars, saturated fatty acids, sodium and high energy content.”, assures the founder of El CoCo. Here are foods such as wild bouquets, frankfurt sausages and some soft drinks.
As for additives are present in 7 of 10 products analyzed, in which an average of three additives have been found in each of them. “Although not all additives are ‘bad’, we must emphasize that 30% of those who have found this study are considered undesirable or products to avoid by the main consumer associations in Europe,” says Boubault.
For its part, only 13% of the products analyzed are non-processed foods, that is, natural, or minimally processed (Group 1 in NOVA). Of these, only 4 out of 10 have good or excellent nutritional quality (correspond to letters A and B in Nutriscore). These are foods such as dry pasta, some children's fruit pots, milk or frozen fish.
The products analyzed in the study areespecially, dairy (yogures, milks, smoothies, desserts such as natillas or flanks and cheeses) and meat (jamons, turkey breasts and other sausages, pork or frankfurt sausages); which represents 28% and 23% respectively on the total of those analysed. The rest are drinks (12%); bakery and pastry products (11%); cereals and cereal products (5%), such as pasta; fish (5%); and fruits and vegetables (6%), such as vegetable creams and stumbled vegetables. Finally, there are the categories “confittery” (3%) and “spicy sauces, soups, sauces, protein products” (3%) and “food products” (4%) in which chocolates, chicken soups or rice are found three delicacies, among others.
“This report aims to be a first approximation of the basket of the purchase of the Spanish and to identify patterns of consumption of the population in order to become aware and to contribute initiatives that can reverse the trend of consumption of ultra-processed and nutritionally unconsorted products. From El CoCo we do not intend to stop delving into this problem and we will continue to make available to consumers reliable and transparent information about the products found in the supermarket”, concludes Boubault.
64% of the best-selling products in the supermarket are ultraprocessed according to an app study El Co
More than half of the best-selling foods in the supermarket are ultraprocessed and, therefore, potentially harmful to health, according to a study carried out
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