Ultra-processed food linked to early death
From the ChalkFace has been publishing a series of articles on children’s health and diets. This recent BBC article is once again pointing out the link between ultra-processed food and health problems.
“Processed foods” have been altered to make them last longer or taste better — generally using salt, oil, sugar or fermentation. Then come “ultra-processed foods,” which have been through more substantial industrial processing and often have long ingredient lists on the packet, including added preservatives, sweeteners or colour enhancers.
Examples of ultra-processed food include:
- processed meat such as sausages and hamburgers
- breakfast cereals or cereal bars
- instant soups
- sugary fizzy drinks
- chicken nuggets
- ice cream
- mass-produced bread
- many “ready to heat” meals such as pies and pizza
- meal-replacement shakes
Two recent studies have very sobering findings about consumption of these foods. The first study, by the University of Navarra in Spain, followed 19,899 people for a decade and assessed their diet every other year. It found that for every 10 deaths among those eating the least ultra-processed food, there were 16 deaths among those eating the most (more than four portions a day).
The second study, by the University of Paris, followed 105,159 people for five years and assessed their diet twice a year. It showed those eating more ultra-processed food had worse heart health.
The message here is try to get your children eating a healthy diet and keep consumption of these dangerous foods to a minimum.