The Importance of Food Reformulation in Developing Countries
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are on the rise around the world, while this phenomenon is comparatively more prevalent in developing countries. It has been identified that this situation arose in developing countries owing to nutrition transitions and adaptation of a sedentary lifestyle, both of which are consequences of urbanization. While priority actions have been documented by various groups to curb this condition, dietary change has become the common implementation across all these recommendations for developing countries, in particular, reducing the occurrence of salt, sugar, and trans-fatty acids (TFAs) in processed food products. These components are readily available in ultraprocessed food products, which are high in calories and nutrient-dense and cause a variety of NCDs. Salt reduction has been identified to be one of the major factors that may help reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and strokes. In addition, there is an association between the consumption of free sugars and increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and CVD, which is mediated through the energy intake and the metabolism of sugars. Dietary TFAs have adverse effects on blood lipoprotein profiles, CVD, and chronic heart disease (CHD) risk, impacting individuals and populations. Efforts on reformulation of food products to reduce these adverse components require policy changes, government and industry tie-ins, and maintenance of food composition databases. In addition, for a successful implementation of reformulation objectives in developing countries, “silent” reformulation has been recommended in order to prevent consumers from perceiving an allowance to compensate for the reduced contents by increasing the consumption of other products with these substances. Also, awareness on reformulated food products and healthier choices should start at a young age, especially among school children, in order to influence their food preferences. Recurrent exposure of children to the same food environment can lead to routine or habitual behavior, leading to preferences in maintaining health and wellness.
KeywordsAfrica China Developing Countries India Food Reformulation Salt Sugar Trans Fatty Acids
Conflicts of Interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare, financial or otherwise.
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