Ultra-processed foods may increase death risk in middle-aged people

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In a study from France, scientists found that eating ultra-processed food is linked to death risk among middle-aged adults.

Ultra-processed foods, also referred to as ultra-processed food products, are food and drink products that have undergone specified types of food processing, usually by transnational and other very large ‘Big food’ corporations.

They usually contain several ingredients which, besides salt, sugar, oils, and fats, include food substances, flavours, colours sweeteners, emulsifiers, and other additives used to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods.

Previous research has found that ultra-processed foods are less filling and raise one’s blood sugars higher than minimally processed foods.

These are generally higher in calories and sugar, lower in protein and fibre, and are associated with obesity. Moreover, a higher intake of ultra-processed foods is linked to higher risks of chronic diseases.

These diseases include cancers, heart disease, diabetes and chronic lung illnesses.

In the current study, researchers examined the link between ultra-processed foods and death risk. They used data from 44 551 French adults who were 45 years or older.

These participants were from the French NutriNet-Santé Study, an ongoing cohort study that launched on May 11, 2009. The team performed a follow-up through December 15, 2017.

Participants were included if they completed at least 1 set of 3 web-based 24-hour dietary records during their first 2 years of follow-up.

The ultra-processed foods group is characterized as ready-to-eat or -heat formulations made mostly from ingredients usually combined with additives.

The researchers found that ultra-processed foods consumption was linked to younger age, lower income, lower educational level, higher body mass index, and lower physical activity level.

The team found an increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods consumed was linked to a higher risk of death.

They suggest that an increase in ultra-processed foods consumption appears to be linked to overall higher death risk among middle-aged people.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies that whole grain foods could help increase longevity, and vitamin D supplements strongly reduce cancer death.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about natural coconut sugar that could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness, and anti-inflammatory diet could help prevent fatty liver disease.

The research was published in JAMA Internal Medicine and conducted by Laure Schnabel et al.

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