A new study suggests that consuming too much ultra-processed food — including chips, hot dogs, ice cream and soda — can have consequences beyond obesity and high cholesterol. In this episode of the Xtalks Food Podcast, Sydney talks about the study, which examined how the intake of ultra-processed foods was associated with premature, preventable death. She explains that ultra-processed foods contain more artificial ingredients than those that just have added salt, sugar or oil. They usually have very few whole ingredients and contain flavorings, colorings or other additives. The new study specifically looked at the number of deaths in the Brazilian population and their relationship to the intake of ultra-processed foods. The team was surprised to hear that Brazilians were getting between 13 and 21 percent of their total energy intake from ultra-processed foods and pointed out some holes in the study, mainly that correlation does not necessarily equal causation.
Also, in this episode, Sydney talks about why activist groups are petitioning the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban Red 3, an artificial color additive that has been linked to cancer. While it’s against the law to use Red 3 in cosmetics, the controversial chemical can still be found in common varieties of candies, cakes and other foods. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) sent a petition to the FDA, co-signed by more than a dozen organizations and prominent scientists, including the Environmental Working Group (EWG), seeking to remove Red 3 from the permanent list of color additives approved for use in food and dietary supplements, and for use in ingested drugs. Though previous red food colorings have been banned, Red 3 remains legal and widely used in the food and beverage industry. The team wonders why Red 3 is allowed in food but not in cosmetics.
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