NOVA stands (in Portuguese) for a classification recently created by the University of São Paulo to catalog food according to its degree of processing. Developed by epidemiologist Carlos Monteiro, from the Faculty of Public Health (FSP / USP), the project aims to help understand how diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer continue to increase, despite people’s greater awareness of the illnesses caused by sugar, fats and salt.

The study was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nutritionists and professionals that works with food. In practical terms, it will monitor 200,000 adult volunteers, for ten years, through a cell phone application. Throughout the day, each person will receive alerts to describe what they have ingested.

In the app, the foods will be divided into Fresh or Minimally Processed Foods (fresh ingredients such as vegetables, fruits and vegetables, meats, milk, rice, beans); Processed Culinary Ingredients (oil, olive oil, butter, salt, sugar, vinegar); Processed (those of a natural base that pass through the industry, such as cheese, jams and breads); and Ultra-processed (such as sausages, cereal bars, breakfast, frozen and instant foods).

According to Monteiro, the first metric will be available in two years and will already give indications of which chronic diseases may be related to the ingestion of more or less processed foods.

Faculdade de Saúde Pública da USP

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