According to a significant study worldwide, when it comes to packaged drinks and foods, the UK is the healthiest compared to Australia and the US, 3rd and 2nd place, respectively.
Ranked according to the Health Star Rating System of Australia, the George Institute for Global Health used this rating system to analyze over 400,000 varieties of food and beverage products from places all over the world. The system employs a star rating process with 5-stars as the healthiest and ½ a star as the least healthy. It also considers nutrient levels like fiber, calcium, protein, saturated fat, sugar, salt, and energy, to name a few. The study conducted highlighted the amount of energy, salt, saturated fat, and sugar in favorite food items on grocery shelves.
With a star rating of 2.81, Australia finished at 3rd, followed by the US at 2.82 and 2.83 for the UK at the top. On the other end of the spectrum, with a star rating of 2.27, India has the lowest score, followed by China at 2.43.
Dr. Elizabeth Dunford, the lead author of the study, found these results concerning. Why? Because the global trend of using processed foods keeps rising. And the worse is, these grocery shelves are stocked with products that contain higher amounts of salt and sugar that are making us sick. Furthermore, it is the poorer nations, or highly populous nations of the world that are affected by these diet-related diseases brought about by unhealthy packaged food and drinks since they are least able to address these issues.
Important Intake from the Study
- The most energy-dense packages food products came from India with 1,515kJ/100g of food. The least energy-dense came from South Africa at 1,044kJ/100g.
- China had the highest content of saturated fat in their packaged food. Saturated fat is considered harmful to the diet and needs to be eliminated or consumed sparingly.
- China also scored worst on the amount of sugar with 8.5 grams of sugar per 100g of food. India was not far behind at 7.3g/100g. Comparatively, this sugar content is almost double the amount found in packaged foods in the UK and Canada at 3.8g/100g and 4.6/100g, respectively.
- When it came to sodium levels, at an average content of 291-mg sodium per 100g of food—Canada topped the charts. The US was not far behind at 279mg/100g.
- When it came to pre-packaged drinks, South Africa had the lowest star rating of 1.92 on average. On the other hand, China’s prepackaged drinks were amongst the healthiest surveyed. However, their packaged food index was at 2.39 on average.
The study had a perfect message for all of us, not just for people in the business of pre-packaged food but also for consumers.
“Billions of people are now exposed to very unhealthy foods on a daily basis. The obesity crisis is just the first ripple of a tsunami of dietary ill health that is coming for us. We have to find a way that the food industry can profit from selling rational quantities of quality food, rather than deluging us with unhealthy junk. There are few greater priorities for human health.” ~Professor Bruce Neal, Co-Author of the Study
Inspired by www.sciencedaily.com