A Critical Review on Ultra-processed Foods - Toxic and Addictive

Ramireddy Sulekha,

Published on: 2024-05-17


There have been many public health crises in the past (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, opioids, cholera, HIV, lead, pollution, venereal disease, even Coronavirus (COVID-19)) that have been addressed both individually and collectively. Healthcare professionals are well aware that noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have their origins in our Western ultra-processed food diet, but society has been slow to take any other steps than public education, which has been ineffective because of food industry interference. By aggregating the evidence for such public health interventions, this article provides the rationale for regulating added sugar, as well as ultra-processed foods, based on four criteria set by the public health community as necessary and sufficient for regulation - abuse, toxicity, ubiquity, and externalities. Several countries have recently implemented sugar taxation policies to help ameliorate NCDs within their borders, which is to their credit. To quell this pandemic, this article also provides scientific counterpoints to food industry talking points and sample intervention strategies.

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