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In recent years, dozens of studies have found that people who consume a lot of ultra-processed foods have higher rates of weight gain, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

Nutrition experts say that highlighting ultra-processed foods in the upcoming guidelines could have a significant effect on the country’s diet and national food programs. The dietary guidelines help determine which foods can be served to the approximately 30 million American children who participate in the National School Lunch Program. The guidelines influence the food industry, food assistance programs, and agricultural production.