Uncovering the Health Risks: How Excessive Consumption of Ultraprocessed Food Can Lead to Cancer and Other Diseases

CNN’s Life, But Better newsletter offers valuable information and tools to enhance your well-being. A recent study discovered that consuming higher amounts of ultraprocessed foods increases the risk of being diagnosed with multiple chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Helen Croker, from the World Cancer Research Fund International, highlighted the link between eating more ultra-processed foods, animal products, and sweetened beverages, and an elevated risk of developing different diseases simultaneously.

Despite the study indicating a modest increase in risk, professor Tom Sanders emphasized the importance of considering dietary changes over the last twenty-five years, as food patterns have evolved. While the study does not directly prove that ultraprocessed foods cause multiple diseases, nutrition researcher Ian Johnson emphasized that various scientific evidence points to a connection between certain ultraprocessed foods and health issues.

The study’s coauthor, Heinz Freisling, expressed concern over the fact that ultraprocessed foods make up more than half of the daily food intake in Europe and 71% of the food supply in the United States. These foods contain additives that are rarely used in kitchens, making them potentially harmful.

The study, published in The Lancet, gathered data from over 260,000 participants in seven European countries over a period of 11 years. It categorized foods using the NOVA classification system, which looks beyond nutrients to how they are made. However, registered dietitian Duane Mellor raised concerns about interpreting the data due to its age.

The study recommends limiting consumption of ultraprocessed foods and opting for fresh or minimally processed alternatives. While certain ultraprocessed food groups were linked to an increased risk of chronic conditions, others showed no association, emphasizing the importance of making informed dietary choices. Enhance your well-being by signing up for CNN’s Life, But Better newsletter.


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