Processed food is cheap and convenient. It makes up 61% of foods consumed by Americans. In a fast-paced society, convenience foods often outweigh healthy options but can have long-term health consequences.

More about processed food and its link to obesity and diabetes

Researchers studying the effects of processed food on obesity studied 20 young adults with similar ages and weights. One group ate a diet of ultra-processed food, and the other group ate a diet of unprocessed food for 14 days. Researchers found that the group who ate the ultra-processed diet consumed more calories and gained weight compared with the group eating the unprocessed foods. Ultra-processed foods include foods with hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and many snacks and desserts. Moreover, these foods are actually linked to an increase in obesity. In summary, these findings show that limiting the amount of ultra-processed foods can reduce a person’s risk of obesity. This, in turn, decreases risk factors for diabetes.

For Latinos, reaching for easy, ready-to-eat foods may not be the best choice. In fact, Latinos already have a higher risk of developing diabetes. We know that diet plays an important role in reducing this risk. Latino families can educate themselves by reading nutrition labels and choosing fresh food over pre-packaged items. By limiting ultra-processed foods, we can prevent obesity, and Latinos can help reduce their risk of diabetes.

See our resource page for more information about Latinos and Diabetes

[Abstract Link]

Photo credit Sharon Sharon McClutoch at Unsplash.