ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS NOW CONSTITUTE 70% OF AMERICAN KIDS’ DIETS TODAY
So kids these days. It’s a saying that’s been around in some form for decades, maybe even longer. Usually, it’s from middle-aged farts like me, complaining about the younger generations. It is, of course, a universal sentiment, even if only momentarily. But this time, kids these days is the start of a conversation about diet and health. A new study which will make the most sunny disposition turn to depression has laid out the contemporary facts. Kids these days are eating trash. In fact, the majority of their diet is ultra-processed foods.
ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS ARE KILLERS IN THE WAIT, AND OUR KIDS ARE INHALING THEM
I remember 20 years ago this was a major concern for many, especially parents and medical professionals. But the concern has only grown and will likely explode now. The data shows that children are now, on average, eating trash foods to such a degree that they now make up at least 70% of their diet. This is not good news for the current and especially future health of our society. So what are ultra-processed foods? They are foods that manufacturers alter heavily. But they also add a slew of ingredients of fats, starches, sugars, food dyes and “stabilizers.” But why? Well, a host of reasons. Artificial smells and additives for taste can increase appetite. But there’s more, of course.
TWINKIES TASTED GREAT, BUT WOULD YOU WANT TO EAT ULTRA-PROCESSED GOODIES EVERY MEAL?
Artificial ingredients (aka, processed) also change the look of food to be more appealing. But a longer shelf life is also a common food processing goal. Think of the jokes about Twinkies and how long they stay “edible.” So in other words, we have taken nature out of the nurture of 70% of the foods that kids these days eat. If that sounds alarming, it should be. Ultra-processed foods are not good for anyone to eat, especially in excess. When you eat too much of them, you can get some nasty medical issues like obesity, heart disease and a host of other maladies. And, of course, they can kill you.
You can find the new research on what kids these days are eating here, in the journal JAMA.