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Recent Study Finds Over 50% of American Diet is Highly Processed:

What this Means and What You Can Do


By Coach Dee

A recent cross-sectional study published in the BMJ Journal found that “ultra processed” foods make up almost 60% of calories and close to 90% of added sugars.

The World Health Organization (WHO), American Heart Association (AHA), and the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (USDGAC) have all concluded this:

Consuming a diet high in added sugar increases the risk of weight gain, tummy tires, obesity, diabetes mellitus, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, coronary heart disease, and dental cavities.

Pretty much, consuming high sugar diets can lead to a plethora of preventative health issues.


We are obese, inefficient, and in debt.


Highly processed foods are filled with “empty calories,” meaning they have little to no nutritional value. We are living in a time with overfed, undernourished, citizens. We expect our working adults to be highly efficient and our kids to be able to focus in school while feeding them sugar, and it’s costing our economy a fortune. American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimated that the cost of Diabetes cost our nation $327 billion in 2018 alone.

The USDGAC suggests limiting sugars to no more than 10% of total calories. On average, we are consuming 5.7 times that amount. Clearly, we need to limit the intake of our processed sugars, but how?

It all starts with awareness.


Many are consuming these foods without even knowing. According to the aforementioned study, the main sources of ultra processed calories come from sugary beverages (pop, fruit juices, and milk-based drinks), pastries, breakfast cereals, and ice cream.

Unfortunately, our food manufacturers do a great job tricking us by telling us it’s “low sugar” or hiding sugar in the ingredients under 60 different names, all of which can be found on choosemyplate.com. That’s just sugar; flavors, colors, and sweeteners that also add to this issue.

Dee’s Rule Of Thumb


The next time you are at a grocery store, take a second to look at the food label under ingredients. If it has more than 5 ingredients, you are looking at a processed food. If it has the words high fructose corn syrup, fructase, sucrose, those are fancy ways of stating “sugar.” If you cannot pronounce the word, it’s probably not the choice for you. Many brands offer healthier options.

Decreasing the consumption of these ultra-processed foods can be an effective way to reduce your sugar intake, which can lead to a healthier, happier, leaner you.

Are you ready to take your nutrition to the next level?


The health and fitness world can be a confusing place, but it does not have to be. Let our coaches help you make sense of all the information out there and build a plan for your success.

Start now. Resources Martínez Steele, E., Baraldi, L. G., Louzada, M. L., Moubarac, J. C., Mozaffarian, D., & Monteiro, C. A. (2016). Ultra-processed foods and added sugars in the US diet: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study. BMJ open, 6(3), e009892. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009892


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