Not long ago it was reported by both the NY Times as well as NPR that processed foods (junk foods) had increased the weight of many Brazilians. In Brazil, the company that did the damage was Nestle. There is also some evidence that antibiotics that have been used to fatten cattle and chickens are having the same effect on us as those antibiotics make their way through the food supply.
Processed foods are huge in the USA, with the latest entry into this type of food product being Beyond Foods, who is making a vegetarian meat patty now being sold through retail outlets and burger joints.
While not all processed food is bad for us, many of these products are unhealthy products of our industrial farming economy that is incentivized to grow products such as corn and results in corn sweeteners being dumped onto the market place, while better products such as raw sugar are better for us. Sugar as a whole should be taken in minimal quantities for health reasons.
A recent study was done using some ultra processed foods that are calorie dense as reported recently by the Washington post. These products have large amounts of calories in their small portions.
There are numerous theories behind how processed foods are making us gain weight. The Washington post looked into these theories and how processed foods are leading to us gaining weight. Check out this article from the Washington Post.
How processed food makes us fat
By Tamar Haspel July 17
For many years, I’ve steadfastly clung to a position for which there has been almost no evidence: Processed food is the root of obesity.
This doesn’t mean that processed food is the sole cause. There’s also the ubiquity of food, changing social mores and what is probably a more sedentary lifestyle (though evidence for that, too, is surprisingly hard to come by). It also doesn’t mean that all processed food is bad. Whole-grain bread and cereal are excellent, and there are good versions of such things as frozen pizza and jarred pasta sauce. Also wine.
What it does mean is that modern industrial food processing — and only modern industrial food processing — has enabled the manufacture of the cheap, convenient, calorie-dense foods engineered to appeal to us that have become staples of our obesogenic diet. By one estimate, nearly 60 percent of our calories come from ultra-processed food.