Nutrition in the News | Issue nº 3

Nutrition in the news is back, and this time, we have partnered with Harriet Smith from surreydietitian.com to bring you the latest news about nutrition.

From dietary habits and their relation to health to special events occurring in the UK. Check here what's been going on this past month in the nutrition world.

Ultra Processed Foods Linked to Early Death

Two newly published European studies provide further evidence to suggest that processed foods may be harmful to our health.

The first study was a French prospective cohort study looking at the risk of cardiovascular disease. Over 100,000 participants aged at least 18 years were followed up for five years, and their diets were examined using a 24-hour dietary recall method six times throughout the five-year study.

They found that higher consumption of ultra-processed foods (i.e. crisps, chocolate, pastries, cakes, etc.) was associated with higher risks of cardiovascular, coronary heart and cerebrovascular disease.

The second study was a Spanish prospective cohort study, conducted in almost 20,000 adults over 15 years (1999 - 2014). They were followed up every two years and had their intake of ultra processed foods assessed through a food frequency questionnaire.

The study concluded that eating more than four portions of ultra processed foods per day increased participant’s risk of all-cause mortality by almost two-thirds (62%). For each additional serving of ultra processed food, risk of all-cause mortality increased by 18%.

The newspaper headlines have certainly been sensationalised; whilst both studies suggest an association between ultra processed foods and adverse health, we need further studies to establish causality.

In the meantime, it is healthiest to eat a diet which is mainly made up of less processed foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish, wholegrains, pulses and heart-healthy fats. But that doesn't mean that ultra processed foods can’t be enjoyed as an occasional treat.

What you Eat at Work is Important

A new American study found that employees at a large city hospital who purchased unhealthy foods were more likely to have an unhealthy diet outside of work, be overweight or obese, and have risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease compared with colleagues who made healthier choices.

The cross-sectional study enrolled 602 employees who regularly purchased food from the work canteen in a health promotion study. Healthy Purchasing Scores and Healthy Eating Scores were calculated for each participant, based on two 24-hour dietary recalls. They also had blood pressure, BMI and HbA1c measured, and clinical data and self-reported information were used to determine if participants had hypertension or (pre)diabetes.

Although this study suggests that healthier food purchases are associated with healthier overall diets and lower disease risk, we need further randomised controlled trials to rule out potential confounding factors (i.e. the amount of exercise that an employee does) and confirm causality.

However, considering that we spend most of our waking hours at work, interventions which increase the number of healthy food choices available to employees at work may help to improve employee’s health and wellbeing.

The UK Celebrates Dietitian’s Week

The UK have been celebrating Dietitian’s Week (3rd June - 7th June), an initiative which celebrates and raises awareness of the important work that dietitians do.

This year’s theme was #WhatDietitiansDo to explain the diversity of the dietetic profession and to make the case for investment in dietetic services. One of the highlights of Dietitian’s Week included a photo competition where over 150 dietitians entered photos, challenging the assumption that dietitians just recommend diets and weight loss.

Entries included a dietitian filming a TV show, dietitians receiving their doctorates and degrees, dietitians helping patients to use food apps, and talking to patients about tube feeds. To view the photo entries, click here.

Dietitian’s Week also coincided with the launch of a charity Recipe eBook, “Dietitian Approved”. This was created by 25 dietitians to raise funds for the Trussell Trust, a food bank charity tackling hunger and poverty in the UK. You can download a copy for £3.99 by visiting this page here.


If you haven't checked already make sure to give a look at our previous editions of Nutrition in the News 1 & 2.

Please note that we do not share any particular side on any of these news headlines, our goal is simply to inform on what professionals and the news have been discussing about to keep you informed and deliver to you the information at the distance of one click.

Let us know what other sources you often go to for evidence-based analysis of the latest information about nutrition, and other topics that were highlighted recently.