A rising rate of diabetes and obesity has triggered the scientists into finding out the exact role of the Western diet in people’s lives. People are already aware of the detrimental effects of sugar and fat on different systems of the body. However, the full extent of this damage has been exposed recently.
As a part of this process for uncovering the effects of diet on health, a research team particularly focused on ultra-processed foods.
The term ‘ultra-processed’ indicates food products that go through different industrial processes and consist of different ingredients. Some of the examples include bread, sugary drinks, confectionaries, processed meals, and ready-made items.
The Damage Caused by Ultraprocessed Foods
As per the authors of this study, the researchers have already associated the ultra-processed products with a series of conditions such as cancer, hypertension, and obesity.
These foods are mostly high in energy, sugar, fat, and salt and low in fiber which explains their connection to the increase in disease risk. On top of this, they also contain a different range of artificial ingredients which may further increase the risk.
Such products are often cheap and quite affordable for consumers, the reason why they are dominating the food industry today. In fact, such foods account for over 57.9 percent of the total energy intake in the U.S.
Although the scientists have been linking the ultra-processed foods to different health conditions, none of them has been able to explain their impact on their mortality.
A new study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine was determined to bridge this gap.
Effect on the Lifespan
In order to investigate, the researchers took information from the French NutriNet-Sante Study. They investigated over 44,551 people with ages of 45 or older. The investigation continued for 7.1 years on average.
Every volunteer in this study was instructed to complete a web-based form. This form asked questions about their food intake. The participants were also required to provide information about their height, weight, socioeconomic status, physical activity, and general lifestyle.
The researchers observed that eating more quantities of ultra-processed foods was linked with being younger, having low levels of education, having low earnings, living alone, having a high body mass index, and exercising less.
The result was just according to their expectations. Even after the participants adjusted a whole range of factors, a high level of ultra-processed foods in the daily diet was linked with an increase in the all-cause mortality.
Overall speaking, an increase of 10 percent in the total amount of ultra-processed foods was equal to a 14 percent increase in the risk of mortality.
The authors concluded that the findings derived from this prospective study investigating a huge French cohort suggest that having an increased amount of ultra-processed foods in the daily diet is associated with an increased risk of overall mortality.
This study has not only bridged the gap that existed for long but has also sent out a public service to the people telling them not to rely on ultra-processed foods if they wish to live longer.