Ultra-processed food linked to early death
It's good to enjoy food, but sometimes stories about the dangers of eating certain things can be hard to digest. I love to tuck into to a pepperoni pizza or munch on a jam doughnut, even though I know the dangers that lurk in their ingredients. It's clear that processed foods are not the most nutritious things; but there now comes a new threat - from ultra-processed foods.
Scientists have now discovered that eating these types of food - such as chicken nuggets, ice cream and breakfast cereals - have been linked to early death and poor health. This is the stuff that has been through more substantial industrial processing and often has long ingredient lists on the packet, including added preservatives, sweeteners or colour enhancers.
Knowing that your bowl of cornflakes could be bad for you might be hard to swallow, but two studies have shown that people eating more ultra-processed food had worse heart health. Dr Mathilde Touvier from the University of Paris, who conducted one of the studies, told the BBC: "The rapid and worldwide increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods, to the detriment of less processed foods, may drive a substantial burden of cardiovascular diseases in the next decades."
But it might not be completely necessary to change your diet just yet as there is still some uncertainty about the results of the study and questions still to answer. Kevin McConway, a professor of statistics at The Open University, told the BBC: "These studies do increase my confidence that there's something real behind these associations - but I'm still far from sure."
Maybe we should follow the advice of The US National Institutes of Health, which found that ultra-processed foods lead people to eat more and put on more weight. It suggests avoiding food containing ingredients you cannot pronounce or anything your grandmother would not recognise as food! The obvious thing to do seems to be to feast on more unprocessed foods, such as fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds, beans, lentils and wholegrains, often called a Mediterranean-style diet. After all, we are what we eat!
hard to digest
hard to swallow
we are what we eat