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US and UK beat Australia on healthiest packaged food

The UK has bagged the top spot in terms of the world’s healthiest packaged food and drinks, with the US in second place and Australia trailing in third, according to the George Institute for Global Health’s latest research.

The study reviewed over 400,000 food and drink products from 12 countries, examining sugar content, saturated fat, salt and calories. The UK was found to have the lowest sugar content at just 3.8 grams per 100g.

The study used Australia’s Health Star Rating system to determine the healthiest packaged foods and drinks. The UK soared the highest rating of 2.83. The US scored 2.82, while Australia was rated 2.81.

“Globally we’re all eating more and more processed foods and that’s a concern because our supermarkets shelves are full of products that are high in bad fats, sugar and salt and are potentially making us sick. Our results show that some countries are doing a much better job than others. Unfortunately it’s the poorer nations that are least able to address the adverse health consequences that have the unhealthiest foods,” lead author Dr Elizabeth Dunford said.

“Billions of people are now exposed to very unhealthy foods on a daily basis. The obesity crisis is just the first ripple of a tsunami of dietary ill health that is coming for us.  We have to find a way that the food industry can profit from selling rational quantities of quality food, rather than deluging us with unhealthy junk. There are few greater priorities for human health,’’ co-author professor Bruce Neal, acting executive director of The George Institute, Australia said.

The latest study noted that most global FMCG manufacturers have signed up to the International Food and Beverage Alliance, pledging to lower salt, sugar and fat content in products.

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