Excess Consumption of Ultra-Processed Food Increases Chance Of Early Death

Ultra-processed foods could be early death sentence study

Ultraprocessed foods are processed through industrial methods and can contain additives.

The study focused on 44,551 adults in France aged 45 or older starting in 2009 and ending in 2017. Much of the negative health outcomes from this diet come from the additives that seep into the food during its processing. They found that every 10 per cent increase in intake of "ultra-processed food" was linked to a 14 per cent increased risk of death within the next eight years. More than 200 of the deaths were cancer-related while 34 were from cardiovascular disease, according to The Guardian.

"Ultraprocessed foods are mostly consumed in the form of snacks, desserts, or ready-to-eat or -heat meals", and their consumption "has largely increased during the past several decades", wrote the authors of the study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, CNNreported. Sometimes even at the stage of packaging, some chemicals may leech into the food making it unfit to consume.

Processes such as extrusion, hydrogenation and hydrolysis were devised to make food less perishable and more appetizing. "Because so many different types of food are included in the "ultra-processed" category, it's impossible to tell which foods might have contributed to the small increased risk in deaths among the people taking part in the study", according to analysis published on the U.K.s National Health Service website.

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"Such foods are attractive because they tend to be cheaper, are highly palatable due to high sugar, salt, and saturated fat content, are widely available, highly marketed, ready to eat, and their use-by dates are lengthy, so they last longer", Nita Forouhi of the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge told The Guardian. She said more evidence was needed, "yet we would ignore these findings at public health's peril".

Ultra-processed food consumption was associated with younger age, lower income, lower educational level, living alone, higher BMI and lower physical activity level.

Other scientists said it was hard to draw firm conclusions from the study, partly because the "ultra-processed" foods category was so large, ranging from packet soups to chocolate bars.

The study also found that 61 percent of an adult's diet comes from ultra-processed food.

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