Bad news keeps coming about the highly processed foods we love to eat. So convenient, so addictive (e.g., potato chips, soda!), but so bad for our health. A recent study found more harms from eating highly processed foods (also called ultra-processed foods). They are associated with a higher risk of ovarian cancer and other cancers, and also death from cancer.
Even worse, the more one eats ultra-processed foods daily, the higher the risk of developing and dying from a variety of cancers. The ovarian and brain cancer association was especially strong.
The large study of 197,246 people, conducted in the UK, looked at the association between eating highly processed foods and the risk of developing 34 different types of cancers over a 10 year period. They found that highly processed foods were generally between 9.1% to 41.4% of the foods eaten daily. Highly processed foods averaged 48.6% of the daily calories, and ranged from 28.4% to 68.7% of daily calories.
As the researchers point out, the highly processed foods are replacing what should be eaten (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes). Thus, diets rich in highly processed foods are generally nutritionally inferior, and are higher in energy, fats, salt, sugars, and lower in fiber and some micronutrients.
Chemicals in highly processed foods and packaging (e.g., acrylamide, endocrine disruptors) are ingested and cause harm to humans. Additionally, additives found in highly processed foods (e.g., emulsifiers) have negative effects on the gut microbiome and gut (intestinal) lining.
Bottom line: Eat fewer highly processed foods. Eat more foods that are unprocessed or minimally processed (fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains). Read the list of ingredients on labels.
Excerpts from Medical Xpress: Ultra-processed foods may be linked to increased risk of cancer
Higher consumption of ultra-processed foods may be linked to an increased risk of developing and dying from cancer, an Imperial College London-led observational study suggests. ...continue reading "Highly processed food increases risk of cancer"