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Ultra-Processed Foods Linked to Cancer, Not Just Processed Meats

processed food cancer diet nutrition health

A processed food is defined as a denatured, man-made, fortified foodstuff that is of no true health or wellness value. Processed foods are those that come in a package, container, carton, jar or box and have a long shelf-life. Eaten over time, processed foods can leave you nutritionally deficient, chronically ill, and prone to cancer.


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Over 50% Of Americans Eat Processed Foods

Statistics show that more than half of Americans eat 'ultra-processed foods that make up a majority of the calories in their diet. Ultra-processed” foods are classified as cakes, chicken nuggets, and mass-produced bread.

Apparently, there are now levels of processed foods --- those that are just processed, and those that are “ultra-processed.” Perhaps that means they’re ultra-dead foods nutritionally, but with that being said, both types of processed are of no benefit to the human body, since both types of so-called processed foods are “ultra-denatured”.

Ultra Processed Foods Are Dead Foods

A French study set out to assess the prospective associations between the consumption of “ultra-processed” food and the risk of cancer. The study involved 104, 980 participants aged at least 18 years (average age 42.8 years) from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort study conducted from 2009-2017.

The study, published in the medical journal BMJ is the first of its kind to positively link "ultra-processed" foods, to cancer instead of only linking processed meats.

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Dietary Intakes And Food Classifications Were Conducted

For the study, dietary intakes were collected by researchers using repeated 24-hour dietary records designed to register participants’ usual consumption for 3300 different food items. These were categorized according to their degree of processing by the NOVA classification -- a food classification system based on the extent and purpose of industrial food processing.

Associations between ultra-processed food intake and risk of overall, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer assessed were adjusted for known risk factors.

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Ultra-Processed Foods Associated With Cancer

In the end, researchers found that ultra-processed food intake was associated with higher overall cancer risk and breast cancer risk. These results remained statistically significant after adjustment for several markers of the nutritional quality of the diet (lipid, sodium, and carbohydrate intakes and/or a Western pattern derived by principal component analysis).

Ultra Processed Foods Increase Risks of Overall And Breast Cancer

The study concluded that a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a significant increase of greater than 10% in risks of overall and breast cancer. Further studies are needed effectiveness understand the relative effect of the various dimensions of processing (nutritional composition, food additives, contact materials, and neoformed contaminants) in these associations.