UPF Exposure & Health Outcomes

Long Li

Tuesday 18 June 2024 20:00–21:00 BST

Season 5


Ultra-processed foods (UPF), as defined using the Nova food classification system, and their impact on health, continues to raise significant concerns among both healthcare professionals and the public.

The shift from unprocessed and minimally processed foods to UPFs, along with their increasing prevalence in global eating habits is attributed to several factors. These factors include behavioural patterns, the availability of food choices, and the persuasive influence of commercial interests on consumer decisions. Such factors, combined with the key characteristics of UPFs, gives rise to concerns regarding the nutritional value and health outcomes associated with UPF exposure.

In this Journal Club session, Long Li, a senior lecturer in dietetics, will delve into a recent umbrella review, published in the British Medical Journal. This review examines epidemiological meta-analyses investigating UPF exposure and their association with various adverse health outcomes.

This session covers:

  • What an umbrella review is
  • How to evaluate data from an umbrella review and appreciate limitations
  • Evidence base for UPF and various health outcomes
  • Implications of findings for nutritional interventions and public health policies

Watch this webinar to

Gain clear understanding of:
  • Current epidemiological evidence of associations between exposure to UPF and adverse health outcomes
  • Strengths and limitations of the existing evidence base in this field
  • The classification criteria of UPFs according to the Nova food classification system
Be aware of:
  • Different definitions of UPFs
  • Current intakes and trends in UPF consumption and key attributers to UPF intake
  • Different types of study designs and does-response relationship
Be able to:
  • Critically evaluate an umbrella review of meta-analyses
  • Advise on a practical level to clients/patients on the role of UPF within the diet and how to reduce intakes
  • Use the findings to support nutrition and dietetic practices including the development and evaluation of public health strategies and dietary guidelines

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Photo of Rachel Clark from World Cancer Research Fund

Expert speaker

Long Li​
Senior Lecturer in Dietetics and Course Leader MSc Dietetics (Pre-reg)


Long Li is a Senior Lecturer in Dietetics and the Course Leader for the MSc Dietetics (Pre-reg) programme at Sheffield Hallam University. He is the Clinical Lead for Dietetics in the GIRFT Head and Neck Cancer Workstream at NHS England and is a Board Member of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) England Board. Additionally, Long is actively involved in various specialist groups within the BDA.

Paper reference

Lane MM, Gamage E, Du S, et al. Ultra-processed food exposure and adverse health outcomes: umbrella review of epidemiological meta-analyses. BMJ. 2024;384:e077310. Published 2024 Feb 28. doi:10.1136/bmj-2023-077310 https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/384/bmj-2023-077310.full.pdf

Dr Caroline Childs - Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences within Medicine at the University of Southampton

About Journal Club Chair, Dr Pippa Gibson RNutr PhD


Each Journal Club session is chaired by Dr Pippa Gibson.
Pippa gained her BSc from the University of Surrey, before returning to complete her PhD where she studied the role of vitamin D on the progression of paediatric liver disease. After graduating Pippa moved to King’s College London as a post-doctoral research associate investigating the role of interesterified fats on cardiometabolic health before moving into the gastrointestinal health team investigating the role of dietary compounds on constipation and functional bloating. Pippa left academia for industry and joined a contract catering company, Accent Catering, as Head of Nutrition, primarily working in nutrition education in schools to promote healthy messages across all ages. Pippa has recently moved the The British Nutrition Foundation as a Senior Nutrition Scientist. You can find some of Pippa’s work on the MyNutriWeb pages as she regularly contributes to the MyNutriWeb blogs.


Nutrition research reported in the media often highlights mixed or contradictory results between studies. So, as a nutrition professional, how can you ensure you use the strongest available evidence to inform your practice?


This webinar has been approved for CPD by the AfN

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