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Experimental studies have shown that human macronutrient regulation minimizes variation in absolute protein intake and consequently energy intake varies passively with dietary protein density (‘protein leverage’). According to the ‘protein leverage hypothesis’ (PLH), protein leverage interacts with a reduction in dietary protein density to drive energy overconsumption and obesity. Worldwide increase in consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPF) has been hypothesized to be an important determinant of dietary protein dilution, and consequently an ecological driving force of energy overconsumption and the obesity pandemic. The present study examined the relationships between dietary contribution of UPF, dietary proportional protein content and the absolute intakes of protein and energy.
National representative cross-sectional study.
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2010.
Participants (n 9042) aged ≥2 years with at least one day of 24 h dietary recall data.
We found a strong inverse relationship between consumption of UPF and dietary protein density, with mean protein content dropping from 18·2 to 13·3 % between the lowest and highest quintiles of dietary contribution of UPF. Consistent with the PLH, increase in the dietary contribution of UPF (previously shown to be inversely associated with protein density) was also associated with a rise in total energy intake, while absolute protein intake remained relatively constant.
The protein-diluting effect of UPF might be one mechanism accounting for their association with excess energy intake. Reducing UPF contribution in the US diet may be an effective way to increase its dietary protein concentration and prevent excessive energy intake.
To present and discuss the dietary guidelines issued by the Brazilian government in 2014.
The present paper describes the aims of the guidelines, their shaping principles and the approach used in the development of recommendations. The main recommendations are outlined, their significance for the cultural, socio-economic and environmental aspects of sustainability is discussed, and their application to other countries is considered.
Brazil in the twenty-first century.
All people in Brazil, now and in future.
The food- and meal-based Brazilian Dietary Guidelines address dietary patterns as a whole and so are different from nutrient-based guidelines, even those with some recommendations on specific foods or food groups. The guidelines are based on explicit principles. They take mental and emotional well-being into account, as well as physical health and disease prevention. They identify diet as having cultural, socio-economic and environmental as well as biological and behavioural dimensions. They emphasize the benefits of dietary patterns based on a variety of natural or minimally processed foods, mostly plants, and freshly prepared meals eaten in company, for health, well-being and all relevant aspects of sustainability, as well as the multiple negative effects of ready-to-consume ultra-processed food and drink products.
The guidelines’ recommendations are designed to be sustainable personally, culturally, socially, economically and environmentally, and thus fit to face this century. They are for foods, meals and dietary patterns of types that are already established in Brazil, which can be adapted to suit the climate, terrain and customs of all countries.
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