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Report of the scientific committee of the spanish agency for food safety and nutrition (AESAN) on the impact of consumption of ultra-processed foods on the health of consumers
Discuss the various definations of ultra-processed foods and the importance of establishing one definition.
Both transversal and Longitudinalstudies have been conducted, with many of these studies indicating that there does indeed exist a direct relationship between higher consumption of ultra-processed foods and cardiovascular diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and, in general, a greater risk of mortality. Despite that, it must be stressed that these studies are currently scarce and therefore there is a need for a more specific definition of ultra-processed food and to conduct more studies, allowing for the effect of these foods on the health of consumers to be assessed. Given that the effects on health seem to be attributed to certain food ingredients, it is considered necessary to studythe impact of processed foods containing such ingredients on consumer health. Existing studies demonstrate that dietary replacement of unprocessed with ultra-processed foods generates damaging effects on health, however, that is not evidence that replacement with “processed foods of complex composition” is more harmful than replacement with merely processed foods.The Scientific Committee considers that, to justify the need for a differentiated category for ultra-processed foods or “processed foods of complex composition”, it would be necessary to conduct epidemiological studies that compare the impact on health of diets with a high consumption of processed foods containing those ingredients that appear to contribute to the generation of health problems, compared to diets based on processed foods that do not include such ingredients in their composition.
Calleja CA, Pons RMG, Sillué SM, Martínez MR, Hurtado MC, et al.
Report approved by the Scientific Committee in its plenary session on 4 March 2020