A recent large-scale study published in the BMJ followed 105,000 people, mostly middle-aged women, for 5 years. It found that the more ultra-processed foods people ate, the higher their risk of cancer.
What are ultra-processed foods?
The study classified ultra-processed foods as:
- Mass-produced packaged breads and buns
- Sweet or savory packaged snacks including chips
- Chocolate bars and sweets
- Sodas and sweetened drinks
- Meatballs, poultry and fish nuggets
- Instant noodles and soups
- Frozen or shelf-life ready meals
- Foods made mostly or entirely from sugar, oils and fats
What were the results of the study?
- On average, 18% of people’s diet was ultra-processed
- On average, there were 79 cancers per 10,000 people each year
- People eating 10% more processed food had nine extra cases of cancer per 10,000 people per year
What was the conclusion?
The researchers concluded that:
These results suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades.
This study is only observational and can’t prove causation. But the evidence keeps mounting up in favor of eating real, unprocessed foods for good health and reduced risk of developing a chronic disease. Don’t forget to be equally wary of ultra-processed low carb products. They are still fake food, and they’re not necessarily better for you than the items listed in this study.
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