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These Are Some of The Most Popular Ultra-processed Foods and How They Increase Cancer Risk

Lena Kirakosyan's picture
ultra-processed foods

A 10% increase in processed food consumption would increase the risk of developing cancer by 12%, according to a new French study that followed nearly 105,000 participants over 8 years.


The consumption of "ultra transformed" food is correlated with an increased risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer, according to a French study published Thursday, February 15, 2018. The study, called NutriNet-Santé, is based on questionnaires completed on the internet between 2009 and 2017 by participants whose median age was close to 43 years old.

It's industrial breads, chocolate bars, sodas and sweetened flavored drinks.

According to the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), the group of "ultra-processed foods" includes all food products consisting mainly or wholly of sugar, fat, and other substances such as hydrogenated oils and modified starches, and processed products added with preservatives other than salt (such as nitrites). For example, industrial breads, chocolate bars, sodas and sweetened flavored drinks, nuggets, instant soups, or ready-made meals.

Some studies have already observed an association between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and "a higher incidence of dyslipidemia in Brazilian children and higher risks of being overweight and having high blood pressure in Spanish university students.” In this study, researchers analyzed responses from a series of questionnaires on daily dietary intake completed every 6 months for the first 2 years by the 104,980 patients in the study. They then averaged participants' dietary intakes and considered them as their usual dietary intake during the 8 years of follow-up. As a result, scientists reported 2,228 cases of cancer, including 108 deaths and 739 cases of breast cancer over the period and population studied.

They found that "a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a 12% increase in overall cancer risk and 11% increase in the risk of having breast cancer.”

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It's also ultra-processed fats, sauces, sugar products.

“More specifically, ultra-processed fats, sauces, sugar products, and beverages were associated with an increased risk of cancer globally, and ultratransformed sweet products were associated with a risk of breast cancer,” the researchers said.

It is possible that part of the increase in cancer risk observed stems from other parameters, such as bad habits that people who eat a lot of industrial food are more likely to have. According to the magazine, the 25% with the highest consumption of ultra-processed foods "tended to be younger, smokers, less educated, have a family history of cancer, and do less physical activity.”

Reference: Science and Avenir

Here are some of the other known dangers of the processed foods and the damage they cause. First of all, here are 4 food dye colors every parent should know to prevent cancer. Processed foods and food additives are also linked to Multiple Sclerosis, Colorectal Cancer, lung cancer and more.

Now you have heard that processed meats cause cancer, but do you under why? So, stop eating this food if you have cancer.

How often do you eat ultra-processed food: several times a week or daily? Please let us know what you think about this risk and wha precautions do you take against them. Please, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below for discussion.