Introduction Ultra-processed foods (UPF), a new classification proposed recently, comprise those foods prepared by the food, drink and associated industries, like soft drinks, snacks, etc, that intentionally are added salt, fat, sugar, preservatives and flavours and colours. They are usually energy-dense, and contain considerable quantities of added sugar, sodium, saturated or trans fats and little dietary fibre. Some of them are already associated with the increasing of the risk of obesity.
Objective To estimate the ultra-processed foods consumption among Brazilian individuals.
Methods A population-based survey that participated 273 adolescents, 436 adults and 385 elderly from São Paulo, Brazil, held in 2008. Dietary intake was collected by the one 24 h recall. It was calculated the caloric share of this group in relation to total energy intake. Further, it was verified the foods with the greatest caloric share. The analyses were stratified by age group, sex, income and educational level.
Results The mean caloric share from UPF were 58% (SD 21%), 49% (SD 24%), and 42% (22%) for adolescents, adults and elderly, respectively (p<0.001). The highest educational level was associated with higher caloric share from UPF for all age group and sexes. There were no differences among quartiles of income. The overall UPF with the greatest caloric share were bread (22%), sandwiches and pizza (13%), soft drink (7%), biscuits (5%), and sausage (4.5%).
Conclusion The UPF consumption represents a large percentage of total caloric intakes, mainly in adolescents.
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