Can J Diet Pract Res. 2022 Nov 22:1-5. doi: 10.3148/cjdpr-2022-027. Online ahead of print.
Ultra-processed foods (UPFs) have become a major contributor to the diets of Canadians, with a recent report from Statistics Canada suggesting Canadians are consuming almost one-half of their calories from UPFs. Research has linked UPF consumption with increased risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, among others. This paper sought to investigate the popularity of UPFs, particularly among children and teens, utilizing the socioecological model as a framework to illustrate how influences at multiple levels (i.e., public policy, organizational, community, interpersonal, and individual) have played a role in the proliferation of UPFs. Evidence from previous studies is used to identify how factors at different levels may influence UPF consumption and discuss potential strategies for reducing UPF consumption. To meaningfully reduce UPF consumption among Canadians, all levels should be considered, with the goal of creating a healthier Canadian population.