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
- 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”
- 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.