Ben-Avraham S, Kohn E, Tepper S Ultra processed food (UPF) intake in pregnancy and maternal and neonatal outcomes. Eur J Nutr.. 2023; 62:1403-1413

British Nutrition Foundation. Position statement on the concept of ultra-processed foods (UPF). 2023.

Hall KD, Ayuketah A, Brycht R Ultra-processed diets cause excess calorie intake and weight gain: an inpatient randomized controlled trial of ad libitum food intake. Cell Metabolism.. 2019; 30:67-77

Monteiro CA, Moubarac J-C, Levy RB Household availability of ultra-processed foods and obesity in nineteen European countries. Public Health Nutr.. 2017a; 21:(1)18-26

Monteiro CA, Cannon G, Moubarac J-C The UN decade of nutrition, the NOVA food classification and the trouble with ultra-processing. Public Health Nutr.. 2017b; 21:(1)5-17

Nansel TR, Cummings JR, Burger K Greater ultra-processed food intake during pregnancy and postpartum is associated with multiple aspects of lower diet quality. Nutrients.. 2022; 14

Paula WO, Patriota ESO, Gonçalves VSS, Pizato N Maternal consumption of ultra-processed foods-rich diet and perinatal outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients.. 2022; 14

Rauber F, Chang K, Vamos EP Ultra processed food consumption and risk of obesity: a prospective cohort study of UK Biobank. Eur J Nutr.. 2021; 60:2169-2180

Rico-Campà A, Martínez-González MA, Alvarez-Alvarez I Association between consumption of ultra-processed foods and all-cause mortality: SUN prospective cohort study. BMJ.. 2019; 365

Seferidi P, Scrinis G, Huybrechts I The neglected environmental impacts of ultra-processed foods. Lancet Planet Health.. 2020; 4:(10)e437-e438

Silva CAMO, de Souza JM, Ferreira LB Diet during pregnancy: ultra-processed foods and the inflammatory potential of diet. Nutrition.. 2022; 97

Ultraprocessed food and pregnancy

02 August 2023
Volume 31 · Issue 8


George F Winter discusses the global evidence of the effects of ultraprocessed foods on pregnancy and early development

Ultraprocessed foods have been defined as ‘industrial formulations of substances derived from foods, which typically contain cosmetic additives…and little, if any, whole foods’ (Rauber et al, 2021). Rauber et al's (2021) prospective cohort study of 22 659 British adults reported that ultraprocessed food-enriched diets were associated with a 79% and 30% increase in the risk of obesity and abdominal obesity, respectively. In a Spanish study of almost 20 000 participants, Rico-Campà et al (2019) reported that more than four daily servings of ultraprocessed food ‘was independently associated with a 62% relatively increased hazard for all-cause mortality’.

For the dietary relevance of ultraprocessed food in the UK context, Monteiro et al (2017a) not only found that the average household availability of ultraprocessed foods ranged from 10.2% in Portugal and 13.4% in Italy, to 50.4% in the UK, but also that ‘a significant positive association was found between national household availability of ultraprocessed foods and national prevalence of obesity among adults’.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Midwifery and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for midwives. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month