March 18, 2024 –  Americans consume more than half of their daily calories from ultra-processed foods.  These increased the risk of anxiety, depression, obesity, metabolic syndrome, certain cancers including colorectal cancer and premature death. Ultra-processed foods are abundant in our food supply. Among the most common are highly refined breads, fast food, sugary drinks, cereals, cookies, and other packaged snacks. They are often high in salt, sugar, fat and calories and low in fiber and micro-nutrients such as vitamins. For instance, a study published last year found people in the habit of consuming high levels of ultra-processed foods were about three times more likely to develop colorectal cancer, compared to those who consumed the least. The exact mechanisms by which these foods may increase the risk is not clear, though the overlap with metabolic disease is striking.