Processed Food: Consumption

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 13 September 2023.

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Photo of Matt Vickers Matt Vickers Conservative, Stockton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to help reduce consumption of ultra-processed foods.

Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Diets high in calories and saturated fat, salt, and sugar are associated with an increased risk of obesity and chronic diseases. Based on their nutritional content, most people are likely to benefit from reducing their consumption of many foods classified as ultra-processed foods (UPF).

The UK Eatwell Guide shows that many foods classified as UPF are not part of a healthy, balanced diet.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition has concluded that observed associations between UPF and health are concerning, but it is unclear whether these foods are inherently unhealthy due to processing or due to their nutritional content.

Many UPF are also likely to be the focus of: regulations which restrict the placement of high fat, salt or sugar products in store and online; reformulation of products high in calories, sugar and salt; the Soft Drinks Industry Levy; and calorie labelling regulations for food sold in large out-of-home businesses.

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