Ultra-Processed Foods Raise the Risk of Serious Health Issues


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — When you’re on the go or in a hurry packaged snacks and meals are tempting. They’re easy to make and taste good. Studies show more and more people around the world are shifting to a diet of ultra-processed foods. Experts have said for years people should avoid them. And now a new study shows the dangerous health impacts associated with eating these foods.

Chips, frozen meals, processed meats, packaged snacks and bread … what do they all have in common?

They’re all examples of foods that have been ultra processed. This means they’ve been chemically modified in some way. They often include high amounts of sugar, and little to no whole foods. In the U.S., more than half of the average diet includes these foods.

A new comprehensive study published in the British Medical Journal found people who ate more ultra-processed foods had a higher risk of developing 32 different medical issues. Of those researchers found ‘convincing evidence’ there was a link to cardiovascular disease-related death, anxiety and common mental disorders, and Type 2 diabetes. It found ‘suggestive evidence’ of a higher chance of death from any cause, heart disease-related death, sleep issues, breathing problems, obesity, and depression.

So how can you avoid ultra-processed foods? Here are some tips: read the nutrition label. If there are a lot of ingredients you don’t know, it’s likely been processed quite a bit. Try to shop the perimeter of the grocery store where you will mostly find fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins. Watch for foods labeled as “healthy” but have been processed, and cook meals at home with fresh ingredients that don’t have labels.

Doctors say it’s often not practical to eliminate all ultra-processed foods. Instead, you can start by making small changes to your daily and weekly diets. Once you start to change your habits, you can follow a healthier diet.

Contributors to this news report include: Lindsay Dailey, Producer; Bob Walko, Editor

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