translated from Spanish: Chile is the second largest food buying in Latin America

According to Panorama 2019, about 600,000 people die each year in Latin America and the Caribbean from diseases related to poor diet, such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Overall, noncommunicable diseases were responsible for more than 50% of deaths in all countries of the Region and in Chile these diseases are responsible for at least 80% of deaths.
What are ultra-processed foods?
These foods are characterized by being industrially made products, usually do not contain foods in their natural form and have high amounts of sugars, fats, salt and a low nutritional value. They correspond to products made through industrial procedures. They use flavorings, additives and dyes to look like real foods when they’re not. In this group are cupcakes, confectionery, fast food, sugary drinks or flavored milk, among others.
A study by the Pan American Health Organization recognizes that, in 13 countries of the Region, consumption of ultra-processed foods has increased rapidly. At the same time, he points out that the energy of these products comes mostly from carbohydrates and fats, which is extremely negative for our health.
According to the report the calories of these foods are approximately 43% sugar, 25% of other carbohydrates, 16% fat, 11% of saturated fats and only 5% protein.
Also, research conducted in Chile in 2018 shows that sugar consumption is 57% higher than the 10% maximum limit reported by WHO and FAO.
Generally, when disposable incomes increase, travel times in the city and the proportion of women in employment, ready-made and out-of-home meals become new alternatives. This situation drives the consumption of ultra-processed and low nutritional value foods.
Regulatory results
However, not everything is negative, the report also highlights that a year after the implementation in Chile of the so-called “Labelling Act” of 2016, the results already indicated that mothers were more aware that the products with the most labels are less than those who showed fewer octagons and use the number of labels as a guide or reference.
At the same time, labels are said to have made it possible to understand that some foods that were considered “healthy,” such as cereals, cereal bars, and yogurts are not actually, as many of them are high in sugars.
Similarly, after regulation is put in place, in schools, beverages and foods with high energy levels, saturated fats, sodium or sugars can no longer be sold, and school kiosks had to renew their product offerings. These changes were accepted by children, but adolescents and tweens have been more resistant to changes in the school environment.
Another aspect that the report highlights is that the average hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean is 5.4% and in Chile it is 2.7%. Since 2000 Chile has steadily reduced undernourishment, however, it is not the country in the region with the lowest percentage of hunger, Cuba and Uruguay have less than 2.5.

Original source in Spanish

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