Ultra-processed foods linked to heart disease, stroke and premature death
Ultra-processed food or junk food lovers may be more likely to develop heart disease, suffer stroke and die premature death, two large studies suggest.
People who get many of their meals from packages may have heightened risks of heart disease, stroke and premature death, two large studies suggest.
The studies published on May 29 in BMJ linked consumption of ultra-processed foods to elevated risk for heart disease, stroke and premature death.
Ultra-processed foods defined in the studies include not only chips, sweets and fast food, but also the breads, processed meats, sauces and frozen meals consumers use as main staples.
One study followed more than 100,000 French men and women for five years and found that those eating the most processed foods were 23% more likely to experience cardiovascular events, compared to those eating the lowest amounts.
It should be noted that the foods do not have to be as bad as those loaded with high amounts of sugar, salt or fat. People were at elevated risk for heart disease, stroke or dying premature death not because they were obese, not physically active or had other unhealthy behaviors.
Some studies suggest that the cause for the link between consumption of ultra-processed foods and increased risk for heart disease, stroke and premature death may have something to do with additives or pollutants or contaminants formed during food processing or lack of nutrients.
Another study followed up nearly 20,000 Spanish men and women to establish the association between ultra-processed food consumption and risk of a shorter lifespan. It found that those with high intake of ultra-processed foods were 62% more likely to die during the two decades of follow-up, compared to those with the lowest intake.
Processed foods can lack many nutrients and have many process-induced toxins such acrolein and acrylamide and carcinogens from meat prepared at high temperature.
Other problems with those junk food eaters may be that these people less care about their foods, lifestyle and health than those who do not eat or eat less junk foods.
Hall KD, Ayuketah A, Bernstein S, et al. Ultra-processed diets cause excess calorie intake and weight gain: A one-month inpatient randomized controlled trial of ad libitum food intake. Cell Metabolism. May 16, 2019.