The topic of ultra-processed foods is permeating the nutrition research and policy community, including being one of the questions under review for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans evidence review process. However, there are several challenges in identifying whether a food is ultra-processed and how to incorporate these foods into research designs, such as secondary analyses using dietary databases and controlled feeding studies or dietary interventions.
While there are several food processing classification systems, the Nova system, developed in Brazil and the origin of the term 'ultra-processed', is the most widely adopted. This webinar will focus on the three objectives below pertaining to the Nova food processing classification system.
CPE Level: 2
Performance Indicators: 3.2.1, 7.4.6, 8.5.1
- Compare and contrast the challenges of classifying ultra-processed foods according to Nova and be aware of available resources to help researchers and clinicians classify foods.
- Discuss the nuances of designing dietary patterns according to Nova for dietary interventions, including insight into nutrient composition, energy density, preparation time, and costs.
- Assess how ultra-processed foods contribute to dietary quality both in positive and negative ways for US populations and how this may influence future nutrition policies in the US.
Lauren E. O'Connor, PhD, MPH
Lauren O'Connor is a nutrition scientist and epidemiologist who has over a decade of experience investigating how certain foods, such as red meat or processed foods, and dietary patterns affect cardiometabolic health and risk for obesity-related chronic diseases using a variety of methods and study designs. She is currently a methodologist for the Texas A&M Evidence Synthesis Center and was previously an investigator at the USDA's Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center as well as the National Cancer Institute. She has contributed to large nutrition public health efforts including the Dietary Reference Intakes for fat and carbohydrates, the 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as well as advancements for NCI's dietary assessment tools including Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour (ASA24®) Dietary Assessment Tool.
Amber Courville, PhD, RDN
Amber Courville, PhD, RDN received an undergraduate degree in kinesiology and her PhD in nutritional sciences from the University of Connecticut. She is currently a staff scientist with the Energy Metabolism Section and Human Energy and Body Weight Regulation Core at NIDDK, NIH. She has over 15 years experience planning highly controlled metabolic diets for research protocols at both the United States Department of Agriculture Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center and at the NIH Clinical Center. Her main research interests are the regulation of food intake, energy and macronutrient metabolism and body composition. She is an expert in medical nutrition therapy for patients with rare genetic disorders of lipid metabolism. Her current research focuses on the effect of dietary interventions on human energy metabolism and obesity.