Health Nutrition
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We all know how important it is to eat a well-balanced diet, but sometimes there’s nothing better than a burger or hot dog, a carbonated drink and some candy. But a new study claims these types of foods, also known as ultra-processed foods, can actually shorten your life.

The observational study studied 45,000 people over the age of 45 for seven years. It looked at the amounts of ultra-processed foods in their diets and the effects it has. The study found that when you controlled for all other factors such as education, obesity, exercise and income, ultra-processed foods increased risk of death by 14 per cent.

What are ultra-processed foods?

  • Multiple ingredients, including additives and fillers and neoformed contaminants
  • Ready-to-eat
  • Food that has undergone multiple industrial processed
  • High in energy, and salt
  • Low in fibre and nutrients

Common ultra processed foods

  • Carbonated drinks
  • Sweet or savoury packaged snacks
  • Ice cream
  • Candies (confectionery)
  • Margarines and spreads
  • Cookies, pastries and cakes
  • Cereal bars
  • “Fruit”-flavoured drinks
  • Cocoa drinks
  • Meat and chicken extracts
  • “Instant” sauces
  • “Health” and “slimming” products such as powdered or “fortified” meal and dish substitutes
  • Pre-made pies, pasta and pizza dishes
  • Poultry and fish “nuggets” and “sticks”
  • Sausages
  • Burgers
  • Hot dogs
  • Powdered and packaged “instant” soups, noodles and desserts

Obviously, ultra-processed food is not something we should have much of, but this is a great reminder to take a look at what ultra-processed food you’re consuming and try to find healthier options for at least a few. Decrease frequency and portions and look for the most unadulterated versions of these foods you can find.

Watch more from registered dietitian Nishta Saxena in the video clip above.