Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Study Reveals: 60% of Staple Foods Sold by Walmart and Target Are Ultra-Processed

A recent study has uncovered that approximately 60% of staple foods available at popular budget-friendly supermarkets like Walmart and Target fall under the category of ultra-processed foods (UPFs), presenting a concerning trend in American dietary habits.

The research, commissioned by GoCoCo, an app designed to help consumers identify unhealthy UPFs in supermarkets, analyzed over 10,000 food products across stores in the United States, France, and Spain. It found that staple foods such as bread, canned goods, cereals, eggs, milk, vegetables, and yogurt at Walmart and Target contain additives and cosmetic ingredients harmful to human health.

Using an algorithm based on NOVA and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations guidelines, the study not only determined the prevalence of UPFs in different stores but also identified the average number of UPF markers (cosmetic ingredients/additives) in specific UPFs.

Previous research has established a connection between the consumption of UPFs and increased health risks, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, mental health issues, and mortality.

Comparison with European supermarkets revealed that staple foods in leading affordable U.S. supermarkets are 41% more processed and contain 41% more UPF markers. Walmart and Target, in particular, were found to have 41% more UPFs than their European counterparts.

These findings underscore the challenge Americans face in making healthy dietary choices, with cost being a significant barrier. The authors of the study recommend adopting a European model to reduce UPF prevalence in large U.S. supermarkets, emphasizing the need for more tools, guidance, and regulation to prioritize healthy food choices and reduce the availability of UPFs in the American market.

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