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Video: Ultra-processed Food Increases The Risk Of Untimely Death
Ultra-processed food increases the risk of untimely death
A large French study found for the first time a link between consumption of ultra-processed foods and a higher risk of premature death, but more work is needed to determine the mechanisms involved. Ultra-processed foods are foods that are ready-to-eat or hot-ready.
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A large French study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found for the first time a link between consumption of ultra-processed foods and a higher risk of premature death, but more work is needed to determine the mechanisms involved.
Ultra-processed foods are foods that are ready-to-eat or hot-ready. They have undergone several transformation processes, including heating at high temperatures, the presence of additives, emulsifiers and texturizers. Most of them are characterized by an excess of salt or sugar, along with a lack of vitamins and fiber.
The study involved 44,551 people over 45 years old, most of whom were women. It involved monitoring diet between 2009 and 2017 - every six months, participants were asked to complete three online surveys, randomly distributed over two weeks, about everything they ate and drank over a 24-hour period.
Over the seven years of observation, 602 deaths occurred, including 219 from cancer and 34 from cardiovascular diseases. The researchers found that a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet corresponds to a 15% increase in mortality.
“We don't have to be scared or say that eating packaged food gives you 15% more chances of dying. This is another step towards our understanding of the link between ultra-processed food and health,”warned Mathilde Touvier, research group director at Paris 13 University.
Because controlled experimentation (where one group consumes ultra-processed foods and the other does not) cannot be conducted for ethical reasons, observational studies remain the only option, but they inevitably have disadvantages associated with self-reporting.
At the same time, many other “invisible” factors contribute, even if the results are adjusted for socio-demographic criteria and overall nutritional quality.
The question remains, what in these products has a negative effect on health? One popular hypothesis is the presence of additives that have been studied in vitro in cages and rats. Nevertheless, one cannot exclude another important aspect - the socio-economic one.
“Consumption of highly processed foods reflects social inequality - they are consumed disproportionately by people with lower incomes or educational backgrounds, or by those who live alone,” says Professor Nita Forouhi of Cambridge University's School of Clinical Medicine. of Clinical Medicine). "These foods are attractive because they tend to be cheaper, are delicious because of their high sugar, salt and saturated fat content, and are widely available … More needs to be done to close this inequality."
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