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British Medical JournalSocial, Clinical, and Policy Implications of Ultra-processed Food Addiction

Ultra-processed foods (UPFs)—industrially produced foods containing ingredients not available in home kitchens—are the main source of source of refined carbohydrate and added fats in the modern food supply.

The article explores the concept of ultra-processed foods high in carbohydrates and fats as addictive substances. The authors argue that this perspective can contribute to efforts to improve health.

Key Points

  • The Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) identified a prevalence of food addiction reaching 32% in people with obesity having bariatric surgery.
  • Ultra-processed food addiction is estimated to occur in 14% of adults and 12% of children.
  • This addiction is associated with biopsychological mechanisms of addiction and clinically significant problems.
  • Understanding these foods as addictive could lead to novel approaches in the realm of social justice, clinical care, and policy approaches.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

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