Are Processed Foods Actually Getting Healthier?

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on May 10, 2018 · 0 comments

Processed foods high in calories, sugar, sodium and saturated fat are often blamed for why Americans are overweight and at greater risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. The Center for Disease Control recently published a review of the top selling processed foods between 2009 and 2015. What they found is encouraging.

They found that the sodium and calories have steadily decreased in top selling products. Companies have been reformulating recipes. Sodium has decreased by 6%. That may not sound like a lot but on a population wide change that adds up. Calories decreased less but they still went down. Many companies are doing incremental changes to basic products. Lowering the sodium or sugar slowly over time so that the changes are not reflected in a pronounced change in taste. As the small change is accepted by consumers, it can be followed by further small changes.

Walmart has reported reducing both sodium and added sugar in its GreatValue products. Improving processed foods goes a long way toward improving the health of the general population because currently close to 60% of the calories and sodium that US adults eat comes from processed food bought at the grocery store.

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