Ultra-Processed Food Addiction Prevalent Among US Workforce, Study Finds

By Dayeeta Das
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Ultra-Processed Food Addiction Prevalent Among US Workforce, Study Finds

One in six workers in the US believe they are addicted to ultra-processed food (UPF), new research has revealed.

The outcome of the study, conducted by the healthy eating platform Lifesum, follows a review published in the medical journal BMJ, which showed that UPFs are linked to higher risks of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, adverse mental health, and early death.

Signe Svanfeldt, lead nutritionist at Lifesum, stated, "Introducing informative warning labels on specific ultra-processed foods can empower individuals to make more conscious dietary decisions.

"Additionally, employers can foster healthier workplace environments by implementing strategies like nutrition education and promoting access to healthier foods."

Prominent Findings

The study revealed that a majority of US employees (85.4%) consume UPFs at least once a week, with one-fifth (20.5%) consuming UPFs daily.


Participants in the survey highlighted convenience (32.5%) as a factor in opting for the category, while more than a quarter (25.8%) cited stress.

The findings emphasise the need for employers to provide accessible healthy meal options and encourage employees to take time to eat a proper lunch rather than snacking between meetings, the study noted.

Around three-quarters (74.5%) claimed that UPFs affected mood regulation at work, and 78.6% acknowledged that it hurt energy levels at work.

Close to two-thirds (62.3%) acknowledged that UPFs negatively impacted their cognitive function at work, according to the survey.


UPFs, including snacks, packaged baked goods, sugary cereals, and ready meals, often lack essential nutrients and are typically high in added sugar, fat, and salt.

Elsewhere, a study conducted by the EIT Food Consumer Observatory unveiled that the majority of European consumers (65%) believe that ultra-processed food items are unhealthy and will cause health issues later in life.

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