Americans are extremely exposed to products which contain a lot of saturated fats, many calories, salt and sugar, as published in the new Northwestern Medicine.

Around 80% of Americans’ total food consumption is comprised of store-bought foods and drinks, which are the main reason for the development of chronic cardiovascular diseases and obesity.

The goal of the information was to provide additional information for researchers, consumers and policymakers and to actually encourage the food manufacturers to replace or reformulate all products that are no healthy and additionally to provide information to the U.S. government that they need to improve the general health of the U.S. packaged food and drink supply.

230,156 products were analyzed by scientists with the NOVA classification system and they discovered that 71% of all products including salad dressings, bread, sweets, snack foods, and sugary drinks and actually ultra-processed.

All bakery products and bread itself was actually the one and only category that was consistently among the highest 3rd among all four nutrient categories regarding the nutrient levels, including saturated fats, calories, sodium and total sugars. If you compare the US with the other western countries such as Australia, the U.S. food supply is actually healthier but is processed with more sodium content and sugar, as discovered by the study.

The guidelines for dietary changes are always updated, however, there is no such regular reporting or surveillance on what you can buy in the grocery shelves. If you change the food supply you need to start by proper assessment. The food and drink products are always evolving, and these reports help us so we can make important changes and the manufacturers would start producing products with less salt, sugars and saturated fat.

The bread shows that breads, particularly, contains 12% higher sodium content in the United States, compared to the products in Great Britain, where the national sodium-reduction strategies were very important and they helped to reduce the sodium levels that can be found in all packaged foods. All the data was analyzed by the company Label Insight, and this represents more than 80% of all drinks and food that were sold in the United States during the last 3 years.

It is important to find a way to get real data so we can improve and track the food quality, which is why a complete study team, that included researchers from the George Institute for Global Health in Australia, developed a free mobile phone application and it allowed all consumers to scan their packaged foods so they can decide if the food is healthy. If a product is not in the database then the user should have to add the product in the database, including their nutritional information.

Afterwards the scientists ranked all the foods and this helped other users. Their focus was to evaluate if the product is highly processed and if it was healthier than the other product in its category. The American Heart Association, Verily and AstraZeneca and the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Science Institute funded the study.