Ultra-processed foods that harm health

According to a study published in The BMJ, a diet rich in ultra-processed foods It is associated with an increased risk of contracting various pathologies that are very harmful to health, such as cancer, serious heart and lung conditions, mental health disorders and premature death. Among the snacks, sweetened or salty, indicated by specialists are soft drinks, ready-made noodles and pasta, meat products, instant pizzas, various sweets and cookies.

These products are made by assembling food substances, mostly basic ingredients, and cosmetic additives, such as aromas, colorants and emulsifiers that were designed in industrial processes. This type of food usually has a high in sugar, fat and salt, and are low in vitamins, protein and fiber.

However, in many countries, it can represent up to 58% of total daily energy intake and has increased rapidly in many low- and middle-income nations in recent decades. Previous studies have linked highly processed foods to poor health, but no comprehensive review has yet provided a broad assessment of the evidence in this area.

To close this gap, the researchers conducted an overview of 45 different pooled meta-analyses of 14 review articles that associated ultra-processed foods with adverse health outcomes. All of the studies were published within the last three years and involved nearly 10 million participants.

Estimates were obtained from food frequency questionnaires, dietary recalls within 24 hours, and dietary history. The researchers rated the results as compelling, highly suggestive, suggestive, weak, or no evidence. They also assessed the quality of the evidence as high, moderate, low or very low.

Ultra-processed foods

Overall, the results show that greater exposure to ultra-processed foods was consistently associated with an increased risk of 32 adverse health outcomes. Compelling evidence showed that higher intake was associated with a 50% higher risk of cardiovascular disease-related death, a 48% to 53% higher risk of anxiety and common mental disorders, and a 12% higher risk of diabetes. type 2.

“Ultra-processed foods damage health and shorten life,” concluded different international researchers in an editorial linked to the article. For this reason, labels are proposed on the front of the containers, restricting advertising and prohibiting sales in schools and hospitals. A similar action that occurs with the sale of cigarettes in some countries around the world and, particularly, in Argentina. Furthermore, the same academics point out that United Nations should develop a convention on these types of foods, similar to tobacco, and promote examples of better dietary practices.

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