This study shows that more than half of the dietary energy consumed on average by the UK population comes from ultra-processed foods, notably industrialised packaged breads, pre-prepared packaged ready meals, breakfast cereals, reconstituted meat products, confectionery, biscuits, pastries, buns and cakes, pre-prepared industrial chips, and soft drinks, fruit drinks and juices.
In the UK, increased ultra-processed food consumption strongly increases the dietary content of free sugars, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium and decreases protein, fibre and potassium. Moreover, more than half of the UK population is not within the nutrient goals recommended by WHO for the prevention of NCDs, and, among the 20% highest consumers of ultra-processed foods, these proportions are around 80% for free sugars, saturated fats, and sodium and over 90% for dietary fibre and potassium.
Reducing the consumption of ultra-processed foods and increasing the consumption of unprocessed or minimally processed foods and freshly prepared dishes and meals made with these foods is key to improve the nutritional quality of diets in the UK and to prevent diet-related NCDs.

Autor: Fernanda Rauber (Researcher)