British Packaged Food Sold in Supermarkets Crowned the Healthiest in the World, New Study Reveals

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A global survey has found that when it comes to having the healthiest packaged foods and drinks, the UK tops the charts, with the USA in 2nd place and Australia coming in at 3rd.

The study, conducted by the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford, analysed more than 400,000 food and drink products from 12 countries using Australia’s Health Star Rating system – which measures the levels of the nutrients such as energy, salt, sugar, saturated fat as well as protein, calcium and fibre and assigns a star rating from ½ (least healthy) to 5 (the most healthy).

It found that the UK had the highest average Health Star Rating of 2.83, followed by the US at 2.82 and Australia at 2.81. India got the lowest rating of just 2.27 followed by China at 2.43 with Chile coming third from bottom at 2.44. 

The results were published in Obesity Reviews.

Lead author Dr Elizabeth Dunford said: “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.”

Co-author professor Bruce Neal, acting executive director of The George Institute, agreed, adding that the rise in packaged foods is a real cause for concern.

“Billions of people are now exposed to very unhealthy foods on a daily basis,” Neal said.

“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.''

The report notes that many of the world’s major food and drink manufacturers have signed up to the International Food and Beverage Alliance and made pledges to reduce levels of salt, sugar and harmful fat and that these findings could provide an impetus for companies to improve the healthiness of their product ranges.

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