It might seem obvious to most of us that eating unhealthy is bad and will cause all kinds of health problems down the road, surprisingly, a lot of people still do it. In fact, research from Heart & Stroke back in 2017 found that half of the average Canadian’s diet is comprised of highly processed food.
New research from a study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that junk food and highly processed foods made in factories with industrial ingredients and additives may be linked to an earlier death. The 2009 study examined over 44,000 French adults over a seven year period, looking at their diet and consumption of “ultra-processed” and convenience foods.
During the following seven years there were 602 deaths; 219 were due to cancer, while another 34 were related to cardiovascular disease. The findings showed that even just a 10-percent increase in processed food consumption “was statistically significantly associated with a 14-percent higher risk of all-cause mortality.”
While some scientists found this study hard to rely on because the category of “ultra-processed” foods was large, including everything from soup packets to chocolate bars. Essentially we’re talking about foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat and sugar, which also go through many manipulations like extrusion, hydrogenation, and hydrolysis before finally landing out our plate. The authors of this study explain a lot of this processing has to do with “technological and/or cosmetic purposes.”
“The case against highly processed foods is mounting up, with this study adding importantly to a growing body of evidence on the health harms of ultra-processed foods,” said Prof Nita Forouhi, of the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge to The Guardian. She added that while more research is needed, the evidence here shouldn’t be ignored.
When it comes to our diet, people should follow a general rule of eating food that has minimal ingredients. The less ingredients, the better! Always read the nutrition labels before purchasing any food to make sure the ingredients list isn’t made up of a bunch of scary words you don’t recognize.
Worried about the types of foods you’re putting in your body? Check out our list of 20 Foods That Are Slowly Killing You.