Researchers say young children who have diets with ultra-processed foods can experience weight issues into early adulthood.
That weight gain can produce a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Experts say a diet of ultra-processed foods can cause damage at the cellular level and lead to unhealthy eating habits.
They note that ultra-processed foods are generally cheaper and easier to serve than more nutritious meals.
Children as young as 7 years old who eat large amounts of ultra-processed food experience steady weight gain into adulthood, leading many to be categorized as having obesity.
An analysisTrusted Source published this week in JAMA Pediatrics looked at more than 9,000 children in Britain whose daily diets were about 70 percent ultra-processed, described as high-calorie foods with various artificial ingredients.
High-processed foods are made primarily from substances extracted from food, including fats, starches, and sugars. Typically, those products include fast food, soft drinks, frozen meals, candy, and salty snacks.