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The results of a follow-up large-scale study which once again raises alarm about the eating habits of modern people who often eat ‘highly processed foods (UPF)’ containing large amounts of food additives have been published . It has been shown to increase the risk of colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia. Heavily processed foods that we often come across in our everyday life include cooking ingredients such as sugar, oil and butter, as well as tinned food, bread and jam. This includes foods that are low in protein and fiber and have been processed with salt and sugar.
● As a result of a 10-year follow-up, the risk of cardiovascular disease is high… Those born after 1990 also face a higher risk of cancer.
A research team led by Professor Yu Ping Shen from Suzhou University in China published a paper containing this content in the October issue of the international scientific journal ‘European Public Health’. The research team investigated consumption patterns of highly processed food and death rates for all causes, including cardiovascular disease, for 60,298 people aged 40 and over registered with the UK Biobank for 10 years. Highly processed foods were classified into four types according to the degree of processing, and the mortality rate of each food participant was examined. The analysis found that those who ate highly processed foods had up to a 17% higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Cerebrovascular disease and all-cause mortality also increased by up to 16% and 30%, respectively.
Studies have shown that the incidence of cancer is higher among young people who eat more highly processed foods than among older people. It was analyzed that those born after 1990 are more likely to develop cancer before the age of 50 than those born before 1970. This is the result of researching cancer incidence data from 2002 to 2012 in 44 countries by referring to the statistics ‘Globocan’ cancer published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) under the World Health Organization (WHO).
A research team led by Professor Tomotaka Ugai at Harvard University Birmingham Women’s Hospital in the United States revealed this in a paper published in the international academic journal Nature View Clinical Oncology on the 6th and said, “Eating habits seem to have changed since the 20th century has changed. has had an impact on the incidence of early cancer,” he explained.
● Research on the causes of hyper-processed foods on disease outbreaks is also active.
Various studies are being conducted to identify the causes of the adverse effects of highly processed foods on health. Maria Laura Bonaccio, a team of researchers from the Mediterranean Neurosurgery Research Institute in Pocili, Italy, published the result of a study on the ‘PubMed’, a website for publishing academic papers in the medical field, in February last year, stating that people who eat a diet high in highly processed foods have a higher number of white blood cells. This is the result of a survey of 20,000 Italian adults.
Sara Berry, a researcher at King’s College London in the UK, said, “Food additives such as sweeteners and emulsifiers commonly found in highly processed foods cause changes in the body’s microbiome and increase the likelihood of inflammation. It is hypothesized that inflammation is caused by the recognition of ingredients in processed foods as harmful bacteria.” It is analyzed that the more often inflammation occurs in the body, the greater the risk of chronic disease.
Nutritionists point out that the nutrients in highly processed foods are negligible. Professor Tim Spector of King’s College London, UK explained, “The ultra-processing properties of modern foods, which usually destroy the complex structures of plant and animal cells, are nutritionally equivalent to ’empty mushrooms’.”
Vegetarian (vegan) food, which has been highlighted as a healthy food, also has a high proportion of highly processed foods. Sophie Madeleine, chair of the British Dietetic Association, said: “The more you try to imitate the original food, the more processing it has to go through.”
Concerns about finding solutions to the dangers of highly processed foods also remain. Proponents of whole foods argue that cutting highly processed foods out of the diet is the only sure way. However, as highly processed foods make up 50-60% of the Western diet, this claim is criticized as unrealistic. Therefore, there is a growing voice in the academic world to reduce the adverse effects on health by controlling the amount of additives contained in highly processed foods. “People are already used to the convenience and taste of highly processed foods,” says Berry.