Consumption of Ultra-Processed Food and Its Association with Sociodemographic Characteristics and Diet Quality in a Representative Sample of French Adults

Nutrients. 2021 Feb 20;13(2):682. doi: 10.3390/nu13020682.


The present study aims to describe ultra-processed food (UPF) consumption in a representative sample of French adults and to evaluate the association between UPF consumption and socioeconomic characteristics and nutritional profile of the diet. This is a cross-sectional study using food consumption data from the Étude Nationale Nutrition Santé (ENNS), conducted with 2642 participants (18-74 years old), between February 2006 and March 2007 in France. Dietary data were collected through three 24-h dietary recalls. All food and beverages were classified according to the NOVA classification. The energy contribution of NOVA food groups to total energy intake was presented by categories of sociodemographic characteristics. Linear and logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between the percentage of UPF in the diet with nutritional indicators. The mean daily energy consumption of the adult French population was 2111 kcal, of which 31.1% came from UPF. This percentage was higher among younger individuals, and in the urban area, and lower among individuals with incomplete high school and individuals who were retired. The consumption of UPF was positively associated with the dietary energy density and the dietary contents of total carbohydrates, free sugar, and total and saturated fat, as well as with inadequate dietary energy density, saturated fat, free sugar, and fiber intakes.

Keywords: France; diet quality; food processing; ultra-processed food.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Energy Intake
  • Fast Foods / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Food Handling*
  • France
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritive Value
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult