Study warns of consequences of these ultra-processed foods
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Study warns of consequences of these ultra-processed foods

According to the study, processed meat was linked to the greatest risk of early death.

According to the study, processed meat was linked to the greatest risk of early death.
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Ultra-processed foods have been linked to several health disorders.

For example, new research has found that eating certain types of this type of food carries a higher risk of early death than others.

Processed meats and sweetened beverages were strongly associated with early death from any cause.

This is a machine translation of an article from our US colleagues at Business Insider. It was automatically translated and checked by a real editor.

People who eat a lot of highly processed foods (UPFs) are at higher risk of early death than people who don’t. This is the result of a new study. She is convinced that certain foods increase this risk significantly more than others.

The study appeared in “The BMJ”. This is a medical, scientific journal published in London. Lead author of the study is Mingyang Song, who is an associate professor of clinical epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

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Together with his team, he has found that processed meat, artificially sweetened drinks, dairy-based desserts and sugary breakfast foods are associated with earlier death. This fact should be considered regardless of the cause. Processed meat in particular is associated with the highest risk in this context.

Mingyang Song told CNN that the association between the UPFs and early death was “moderate” and not equally strong across all UPFs: “The positive association is mainly driven by a few subgroups,” the scientist told the broadcaster.

This danger lies in processed foods

The association between UPFs and death appeared to be lower when a person’s overall diet was healthy. But: The results suggest that consuming as few UPFs as possible increases the likelihood of long-term health. “Our data suggest that diet quality has the greatest impact on long-term health, while the additive effect of food processing is likely limited,” the authors write.

To arrive at the results, researchers from several universities examined existing data from more than 100,000 healthcare professionals in the United States. Participants had no history of cancer, cardiovascular disease or diabetes when they reported. They provided information about their health, diet and lifestyle every two years between 1986 and 2018.

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Researchers took into account how closely the participants’ diets matched the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (UPI). This is a scoring system that measures the nutrient content of a person’s diet and predicts their risk of developing chronic diseases.

The group that consumed the least UPF ate an average of about three servings per day. In contrast, the group that ate the most UPF consumed an average of seven servings per day, the study found. The group that ate the most UPF had a four percent higher risk of dying from any cause. And: There is even a nine percent higher risk of dying from causes other than cancer or cardiovascular diseases. These included deaths related to respiratory diseases or neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Certain UPFs appear to be more harmful than others

UPFs typically contain some ingredients not found in a regular kitchen. They are manufactured using industrial processes. A body of research has found a link between diets high in UPF and poor health outcomes. In a recent study, UPFs were linked to 32 health problems, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and depression.

However, the studies, including this most recent one, are typically observational. This means that it is difficult to prove that UPFs cause specific diseases.

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UPFs are typically high in saturated fat, refined sugar, and salt, and low in fiber and other nutrients. According to the study, there is debate as to whether the processing and additives are responsible for the link to poor health or the low nutrient profile.

UPF is also a broad category, ranging from soda and candy to packaged whole grain bread. To address these concerns, researchers divided the UPFs into nine groups to determine whether some foods had a greater impact than others. The groups were:

  1. Ultra-processed breads and breakfast products
  2. Fats, spices and sauces
  3. Packaged sweet snacks and desserts
  4. Sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened drinks
  5. Ready-to-eat or heated dishes
  6. Meat, poultry and seafood based on ready-to-eat products such as processed meat
  7. Packaged savory snacks
  8. Dairy-based desserts
  9. Other

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Gunter Kuhnle is Professor of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Reading in Great Britain. He was not involved in the study and says that despite the large sample size, the questionnaires used were never designed to determine UPF intake. It is therefore impossible to know how reliable the results are.

According to the authors, future studies are needed to improve the classification of processed foods and confirm the results in other populations.

Read the original article in English at Business Insider.

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