Ultra-processed foods, red meat may increase your death risk

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Scientists from Loma Linda University found that high consumption of ultra-processed foods and red meat may be important death indicators.

The study adds to a growing body of knowledge about how ultra-processed foods and red meat impact human health and longevity.

The research is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was conducted by Gary Fraser et al.

In the study, the team analyzed over 77,000 participants.

Participants completed a frequency food questionnaire including over 200 food items to describe their diets.

Examples of ultra-processed foods include soft drinks, certain meat analogs, and candy.

The team found that people who obtained 50% of their total calories from ultra-processed foods faced a 14% increase in death risk compared to people who received only 12.5% of their total calories from ultra-processed foods.

Eating ultra-processed foods were linked to death related to respiratory, neurologic, and renal conditions—particularly Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and COPD.

However, high ultra-processed food consumption was not linked to mortality from heart disease, cancer, or endocrine conditions.

The team also found an 8% increase in the death risk associated with moderate (approximately 1 ½ oz per day) consumption of red meat compared to no red meat.

Overall, the study demonstrated how greater consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with higher all-cause mortality, even in many vegetarians.

It seems that the proportion of ultra-processed foods in someone’s diet is actually more important with respect to death than the proportion of animal-derived foods they eat, the exception being red meat.

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