Ultra-processed foods are associated with higher risks of colon cancer, heart disease, and overall mortality, according to two recent studies.
- Poor eating may contribute to 1 in 5 deaths worldwide, according to an earlier study.
- Recently, Tufts University researchers discovered that consuming a lot of ultra-processed meals increases the risk of colon cancer.
- Another group of Italian researchers hypothesizes that persons who consume the most ultra-processed food and have the worst nutritional status are at an increased risk for both all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.
Few individuals may recognize how important their diet is to their health and lifespan. In fact, according to the earlier study, diet improvements might avert 1 in 5 deaths globally.
What kind of food is ultra-processed?
The NOVA food categorization system was developed by scientists at the Center for Epidemiological Studies in Health and Nutrition at the School of Public Health at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. Ultra-processed foods fall under this category.
Foods are divided into four classes according to the NOVA system:
- Group 1: foods that have undergone extensive processing.
- Group 2: little or not at all processed foods.
- Group 3: cooked food components processed (oils, fats, salt, and sugar)
- Group 4: prepared meals.
Products prepared in an industrial setting from substances that are primarily or totally created in a laboratory or extracted from foodstuffs are referred to as ultra-processed foods.
In general, ultra-processed foods may be recognized in a product if at least one component on its list is typical of the ultra-processed food category, which is described by the following:
- Elements include sugars, fats, and preservatives that are frequently included in processed meals.
- Chemicals are created to mimic whole, natural foods.
- Colorings, taste enhancers, and other ingredients.
- Maltodextrin, high-fructose corn syrup, modified starch, and hydrogenated fats are examples of substances created by synthesizing food components.
These are some examples of ultra-processed foods:
- Commercial ice cream
- Energy bars and drinks
- Sweetened juices
- Sports drinks and sodas
- Bread and other baked products are mass-produced and packaged and include hydrogenated fats, sugar, and additions.
- Pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and fish sticks are examples of premade meals.
- Substitute drinks for meals
An estimated 58% of Americans’ diets are made up of ultra-processed foods, which are linked to weight gain, particularly in women, according to the earlier study.
An increased chance of death from heart disease.
32% of deaths worldwide are reportedly attributable to cardiovascular disease each year, according to research.
A vital part of avoiding cardiovascular disease is diet. An elevated risk of cardiovascular disease is associated with a diet heavy in ultra-processed foods.
The highest risk for both all-cause and cardiovascular death was shown in those with the lowest dietary quality, as measured by the FSAm-NPS dietary index, and the highest intake of ultra-processed foods, as measured by the NOVA categorization system.
But when both of these dietary factors were included at once, we discovered that a greater level of food processing was more important for this elevated risk than a diet with low nutritional quality.
Include more nutritious meals in your everyday diet.
Instead of concentrating on what they can eat, Sepe advised people to think about what they can consume. She explained that when people start making dietary changes, they occasionally believe they must drastically alter their diet overnight, which entails giving up all of their favorite foods.
Start off slowly and gradually introduce a few new meals each week, she said. The old meals will eventually start to “crowd out” the good ones as time goes on.
Begin preparing your own meals.
The majority of ready-to-eat foods have a lot of added sugars, salt, and additives, all of which are quite inflammatory, according to Sepe.
Furthermore, they are frequently housed in plastic containers, which, particularly when heated, leak toxins into the food you are consuming. These can be carcinogenic in addition to being quite inflammatory.
Consume a probiotic of high grade every day.
In spite of the fact that nutrition is important for health, Sepe stated that “adding in a daily probiotic will assist to enhance the balance of bacteria in the gut microbiome, which also helps to lessen inflammation.”