A new health study has found a link between high intake of ready to eat ultra-processed foods and a higher risk of early death due to chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer. It is the first to investigate the consumption of the products and mortality risk. However, more research work is required to determine which mechanisms were at play.
In order to understand the relationship between ultra-processed foods mostly consumed in the form of snacks, desserts or ready-to-eat or heat meals and the risk of early death, the research group, led by Dr. Laure Schnabel from Paris-Sorbonne University, examined the diet of more than 44,000 middle-aged adults between 2009 and 2017.
The participants were asked to fill out three online surveys every six months, which were randomly assigned over two weeks, to give details about their eating habits, lifestyle, and socio-economic background. Surprisingly, it was found that ultra-processed foods and snacks like pizza and cakes that tend to be high in sugar, salt, and saturated fat accounted for roughly 14 percent of the participants’ food intake.
Over seven years of follow-up, there were around 600 deaths, of which 219 were from cancer and 34 from cardiovascular disease. The research found that deaths were more likely to occur in those who ate more ultra-processed food. It pinpointed that a 10 percent increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet corresponded to a 15 percent increase in mortality.
“The case against highly processed foods is mounting up, with this study adding importantly to a growing body of evidence on the health harms of ultra-processed foods,” said Prof Nita Forouhi, of the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, reported CNN.
She said more evidence was needed to confirm the adverse effect of processed foods on human health.
The research results have been published in JAMA Internal Medicine published by the American Medical Association.
Source:: Daily times