Eating Lots Of These Foods Can Significantly Increase Risk Of Cancer, Heart Disease And Early Death, New Studies Show

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It’s no surprise that processed foods—items like cereal, breads, and cakes—aren’t the best for your health. Sure, they taste great, but they can really do a number on your well-being. Regularly eating processed foods have long since been proven to increase the risk of health issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, depression and even early death.

Now, two new studies recently came out that found that the even worse sister to processed foods: ultra-processed foods—think soft drinks, packaged snacks, cold cuts, beef jerky, sausages, hot dogs, frozen pizza, French fires, sausages, ice cream, cookies, cake mixes, and more—can cause even worse issues.

Two separate studies were done, both published in the British Medical Journal—one that analyzed the eating habits of adults in the US and one that analyzed the eating habits in Italy. Both studies found ultra-processed foods to significantly increase the risk of certain health issues.

In the US study, eating lots of ultra-processed foods were found to increase the risk of colorectal cancer in men. The study found that men who consumed a great deal of these types of foods had a whopping 29% higher risk of developing the cancer compared to those who consumed the lowest amount of processed food.

The Italian study tracked consumption of processed food as well as what was referred to as “nutrient-poor foods” (more than 80% of which were also ultra-processed) by more than 22,000 people over five years. According to lead researcher Marialaura Bonaccio, ultra-processed foods were “paramount to define the risk of mortality” in this study.

These aren’t the first studies to link ultra-processed foods to poor health. Eating a lot of the stuff has been linked to anxiety or depression, found one study published in Nutrients.

So what’s the difference between processed and ultra-processed foods? The latter contains more additives than whole, naturally-occurring ingredients, which means they’re made up of more processed garbage than actual food. Not only can they be high in calories, but also have a lot of unhealthy fats, added sugars and sodium lurking in them, too. Additionally, they lot of the good stuff found in healthier foods, like fiber and certain vitamins and minerals.

Next time you’re at the grocery store and are stocking up on processed snacks, make sure you’re making the right choices!

Do you eat processed or ultra-processed foods? Are the results of this new study surprising to you?