Ultra-processed food (UPF) consumption has been the focus of major attention due to their potential effects on human health. The aim of this study was to investigate the intake of UPFs in a sample of southern Italian individuals and assess its relationship with nutrient profile and dietary quality parameters. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 1936 individuals older than 18 years randomly selected from the general population. A total of 110 food times have been categorized based on the level of processing using the NOVA classification. The average daily energy intake of the sample was 2091.1 kcal, 38.7% of which were from the NOVA group of unprocessed/minimally processed foods, 5.7% from processed culinary ingredients, 38.3% from processed foods, and 17.9% from the UPFs group. UPFs were more consumed among young, unmarried individuals, with high cultural level, smokers, and often eating out of home. The mean energy share of UPFs varied from 6.3% of total daily energy intake for individuals in the lowest quintile of UPF consumption to 34.2% for those in the upper quintile. Within the UPF group, the highest energy contribution was provided by fast foods and sweets. Compared to the lowest quintile of UPF consumption, individuals in the highest quintile consumed, on average, additional 300 kcals per day and less fiber. Some plant-derived vitamins, such as vitamin A and vitamin C showed an inverse trend toward increasing shares of UPF consumption, while sodium intake increased. A significant higher intake of UPFs in individuals meeting the European and Italian dietary recommendations for carbohydrates, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamin E was found, while UPFs were less consumed among those meeting the recommendations for total fats, fiber, sodium, potassium, and vitamin C. Finally, individuals displaying a "healthier" dietary profile, such as higher adherence to either the Mediterranean diet, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the Alternate Diet Quality Index, and the Diet Quality Index-International, consumed less UPFs and more unprocessed/minimally processed foods, with minor variation in the other NOVA food categories. In conclusion, consumption of UPF in southern Italy is in line with those reported in some other Mediterranean countries, although it negatively impacted the nutrient profile. It is important to monitor the consumption of UPFs before their availability and popularity put the grounds on younger generations' dietary habits.

Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Relation with Diet Quality and Mediterranean Diet in Southern Italy / Godos, J.; Giampieri, F.; Al-Qahtani, W. H.; Scazzina, F.; Bonaccio, M.; Grosso, G.. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH. - ISSN 1660-4601. - 19:18(2022), p. 11360. [10.3390/ijerph191811360]

Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Relation with Diet Quality and Mediterranean Diet in Southern Italy

Scazzina F.;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Ultra-processed food (UPF) consumption has been the focus of major attention due to their potential effects on human health. The aim of this study was to investigate the intake of UPFs in a sample of southern Italian individuals and assess its relationship with nutrient profile and dietary quality parameters. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 1936 individuals older than 18 years randomly selected from the general population. A total of 110 food times have been categorized based on the level of processing using the NOVA classification. The average daily energy intake of the sample was 2091.1 kcal, 38.7% of which were from the NOVA group of unprocessed/minimally processed foods, 5.7% from processed culinary ingredients, 38.3% from processed foods, and 17.9% from the UPFs group. UPFs were more consumed among young, unmarried individuals, with high cultural level, smokers, and often eating out of home. The mean energy share of UPFs varied from 6.3% of total daily energy intake for individuals in the lowest quintile of UPF consumption to 34.2% for those in the upper quintile. Within the UPF group, the highest energy contribution was provided by fast foods and sweets. Compared to the lowest quintile of UPF consumption, individuals in the highest quintile consumed, on average, additional 300 kcals per day and less fiber. Some plant-derived vitamins, such as vitamin A and vitamin C showed an inverse trend toward increasing shares of UPF consumption, while sodium intake increased. A significant higher intake of UPFs in individuals meeting the European and Italian dietary recommendations for carbohydrates, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamin E was found, while UPFs were less consumed among those meeting the recommendations for total fats, fiber, sodium, potassium, and vitamin C. Finally, individuals displaying a "healthier" dietary profile, such as higher adherence to either the Mediterranean diet, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the Alternate Diet Quality Index, and the Diet Quality Index-International, consumed less UPFs and more unprocessed/minimally processed foods, with minor variation in the other NOVA food categories. In conclusion, consumption of UPF in southern Italy is in line with those reported in some other Mediterranean countries, although it negatively impacted the nutrient profile. It is important to monitor the consumption of UPFs before their availability and popularity put the grounds on younger generations' dietary habits.
Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Relation with Diet Quality and Mediterranean Diet in Southern Italy / Godos, J.; Giampieri, F.; Al-Qahtani, W. H.; Scazzina, F.; Bonaccio, M.; Grosso, G.. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH. - ISSN 1660-4601. - 19:18(2022), p. 11360. [10.3390/ijerph191811360]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2933100
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