Ultra-processed food includes a vast range of food items, including prepared dishes, packaged-baked items, ice-cream and much more. Two new studies, published on Wednesday in the BMJ, reveal a link of ultra-processed food with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. The first study originated in France, discovered that 10% of ultra-processed food in the diet could result in higher rates of heart diseases. According to second Spain–based study, people who eat more than four servings of ultra-processed food per day were 62% more probable to have a premature death. Both studies involved large groups of adults.
Scientists collected information from around 20,000 patients in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) project. It watches university graduate volunteers, ages 20 to 91 years old, every two years through a set of questions. Maira Bes-Rastrollo, leading author of one of the studies, said highly-processed food already make up more than half of the total dietary energy. She noted people in developed and high-income countries consume more amount of ultra-processed food. Bes-Rastrollo and her team also collected data on lifestyle, statistical aspects, physical activity, weight and health. After examining the data, scientists discovered that excessive consumption of highly-processed foods was linked with a massive rise in the risk of premature death. Besides, each additional serving of the factory-made food rose that relative risk by 18%.
According to a study, there was a 12% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease for every 10% increase in the amount of ultra-processed food consumed. The study analysed factors such as age, baseline body mass index (BMI), smoking status, alcohol consumption and physical activity. Comparatively, the first study discovered that diets high in unprocessed and minimally-processed foods and lower risks of disease. The studies associate a study published earlier this month that found diets high in ultra-processed foods resulted in more weight gain compared to diets with whole foods. Although the new studies show only a link, rather than proving that ultra-processed foods result in heart disease and risk of early death.
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