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Americans are getting most of their calories and sugar from a specific type of food. According to a new study, almost 60 percent of all calories and 90 percent of all added sugar in a typical American diet come from ultra-processed foods.

Researchers for the cross-sectional study used dietary data from more than 9,000 people from the 2009-10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Details are published in BMJ Open.

What does ultra-processed mean?

It means these foods contain ingredients you’d never use if you were doing the food prep.

“Ultra processed foods are by definition formulations of several ingredients which, besides salt, sugar, oils, and fats, include food substances not used in culinary preparations,” Dr. Scott Schreiber, a certified nutrition specialist and licensed dietitian/nutritionist practicing in Delaware told Care2.

“In particular,” he continued, “flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers, and other additives used to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations or to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product — these preparations are not even food. They have been altered and manipulated to become artery clogging, blood sugar raising, cancer causing substances that Americans are eating every day.”

In the study, added sugars accounted for 21.1 percent of calories in ultra-processed foods. That’s eight times higher than processed foods and five times higher than what you’ll find in unprocessed or minimally processed foods and processed culinary ingredients grouped together.

The researchers found a strong association between ultra-processed foods and overall dietary intake of added sugars. People who ate more ultra-processed foods tended to exceed the recommended upper limit of 10 percent of energy from added sugars. The only people whose sugar intake fell below the maximum recommended limit were those whose ultra-processed food consumption fell within the lowest 20 percent.

Ultra-processed foods laden with sugar contribute to weight gain and obesity, which can lead to a host of health problems, including tooth decay, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They also fill up our bellies so we’re less likely to eat the nutritious foods we need.

Items considered to be ultra-processed include some:

  • soft drinks
  • breakfast cereals
  • desserts
  • packaged baked goods
  • frozen meals
  • sweet or savory packaged snacks
  • instant noodles and soup
  • chicken and fish nuggets and other reconstituted meat products

The researchers concluded that cutting back on the consumption of ultra-processed foods could be an effective way of curbing excessive added sugar intake in the United States.

Schreiber added, “In my opinion, eliminating these from American diet will change healthcare and significantly reduce chronic disease.”

Be a label reader…and make a clean sweep

Cindy Santa Ana, integrative nutrition health coach and author of the book, Unprocessed Living, said, “The most important thing a consumer can do is flip the box over and read the ingredient label.” She cautions consumers to be on the look out for these ingredients:

  • high fructose corn syrup
  • partially hydrogenated oils
  • MSG
  • artificial colors and flavors
  • nitrates
  • artificial sweeteners
  • abbreviated chemical preservatives like TBHQ, BHT, BHA, BVO, and EDTA, among others

“Foods containing these chemicals are truly ultra-processed and shouldn’t be eaten,” said Santa Ana.

Take a look around your kitchen. Is your pantry filled with ultra-processed cereals and instant soups? Is your freezer stacked with frozen meals? Fridge filled with soda and reconstituted meats? It might be time to make a clean sweep of all the fake foods and replace them with fresh produce, pulses, and minimally or unprocessed foods.

SOURCE: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/if-you-cut-one-thing-from-your-diet-make-it-ultra-processed-foods.html

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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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