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Ultra-processed foods push death risk up by 14 percent, study says

14 February 2019

The study focused on 44,551 adults in France aged 45 or older starting in 2009 and ending in 2017.

Ultra-processed foods are manufactured in industries and are often teeming with many additives. Participants also completed health questionnaires that allowed researchers to calculate each person's consumption of ultraprocessed foods, CNN reported.

High in salt, saturated fat and sugar, ultra-processed foods go through multiple industrial manipulations before they reach our mouths, including extrusion, hydrogenation and hydrolysis.

A French study has found a link between high intakes of ultra-processed foods and higher death rates including from cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

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These foods, the researchers say, could be causing early deaths due to chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer.

New research confirms a theory long-held by many: eating junk food raises the risk of an early death.

"The case against highly processed foods is mounting up, with this study adding importantly to a growing body of evidence on the health harms of ultra-processed foods", she told The Guardian. More than half the United Kingdom diet is ultra-processed food, the Guardian revealed previous year.

The researchers calculated each participant's overall dietary intake and consumption of ultra-processed food and found that it accounted for more that 14% of the weight of total food consumed and about 29% of total calories, they found.

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According to the study, published Monday in the journal Jama Internal Medicine, consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with younger age, lower income, lower education level, living alone, higher body mass index, and a lower physical activity level.

There are many kinds of ultraprocessed foods and the study could not pinpoint exactly what might make them a threat to health, according to Nurgul Fitzgerald, associate professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University. In Canada, almost half of an adult's daily diet is comprised of ultra-processed food, according to 2017 research by Heart & Stroke.

"To put things into perspective, although the risk of dying over the seven-year period of investigation was about 15% higher among those consuming more of these foods, the background risk across the whole group was low".

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Ultra-processed foods push death risk up by 14 percent, study says