Home » Eating ultraprocessed foods can lead to 32 dangerous health conditions, study finds

Eating ultraprocessed foods can lead to 32 dangerous health conditions, study finds

by Today

Eating a lot of so-called ultraprocessed foods may raise the risk for a multitude of illnesses, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes as well as for premature death, a new study suggests.

The impact of ultraprocessed foods on health has been studied many times before, but this new research is the first comprehensive review to assess more broadly the quality of existing evidence on the topic, according to a press release.

The researchers, based in Australia, found a link between high consumption of ultraprocessed foods and 32 negative health outcomes, which also include respiratory, gastrointestinal, metabolic and mental health issues.

They hope the findings will prompt more research into how these foods impact health, the study’s first author, Melissa Lane, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow at Deakin University, Barwon Health in Geelong, Australia, tells TODAY.com.

What are ultraprocessed foods?

Typically, ultraprocessed foods are ready to eat or pop into a microwave — such as frozen entrees, soft drinks, sugary cereals, reconstituted meats and packaged baked goods — and usually contain high levels of fat, added sugars and salt.

Because the original food has been highly processed (another term for this type of food), ultraprocessed foods comprise only extractions of whole foods and are low in fiber and vitamins. They’re also often higher in calories but keep you full for less time.

What is known about ultraprocessed foods is “they’re often packed with things like salt, fat and sugar, which, in excess, are not great for us,” Lane says via email. “But there is emerging research suggesting that other aspects of ultraprocessed foods, like how they are made and the industrial ingredients they contain, might also be contributing to health problems.”

The design of these foods is “all about making them taste good and stay fresh for a long time, which makes them very tempting to buy,” Lane explains. “They are everywhere because they are…

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