ultra processed foods

Ultra processed foods are bad for health for various reasons. And now a new study from the Imperial College of Medicine, London has found that more foods are associated with an increased risk of cancer. Sadly, most of the UK supermarkets sell these foods and they are relatively cheap. Therefore, the researchers have asked for warning labels about it on the front of the packages of these foods.

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Ultra processed foods and risk of cancer

Ultra processed foods are bad for health. They have been associated with a large number of chronic health conditions and premature deaths from all causes. Additionally, a lot of studies have found that eating these foods and junk or fast foods increases the risk of obesity, heart ailments, type 2 diabetes mellitus and dementia. Moreover, they induce body inflammation and damage body cells and DNA.

ultra processed foods
The ultra processed foods (Source: Pinterest)

Based on this, scientists from the reputed Imperial College of Medicine, London led a new study. And the Cancer Research UK and the World Cancer Research Fund aided the study financially.

The eClinicalMedicine published this report and it states that breakfast cereals, breads produced on a large scale, ham, ice creams, crisps, and ready meals carry a high risk of cancer. All these foods are sold at supermarkets and are highly popular with people.

The exact study details and findings

The research team for this study used the data from the UK Biobank. It examined the diet of 197426 people in the age group of 40 to 69 years. And the research team followed these recruits over a decade. They kept a record of their health and checked on their risk of cancer or death from it.

As expected, the analysis revealed a high risk of cancer in people taking these highly processed foods. Ovarian and brain cancer was markedly high in these people on processed foods. They also died due to these cancers more. For every 10% increased consumption of these foods, overall cancer risk raised by 2%. And there was 19% increased risk of ovarian cancer. This risk remained high even after confounding factors were adjusted.

ultra processed foods
The unhealthy ultra processed foods (Source: Credihealth)

These highly processed foods have ingredients in them that normally people do not add to these foods when they cook them at home. These are damaging for the body and include artificial colorings, flavorings, preservatives, sweeteners and the like.

What experts say?

NHS states that not all processed foods are bad. Milk is pasteurized and yet safe. One of the authors, Dr. Kiara Chang states that Americans get more than 50% of their calories in a day from these processed foods. These foods are cheap and hence poorer people consume it in larger numbers.

ultra processed foods
Mass produced foods such as bread are unhealthy (Source: Medical news today)

She added that these foods are inexpensive and come in attractive packaging. The authors have urged the government to make health and cancer warning labels on front of these packages mandatory. Moreover, fresh food rates should be slashed so that it is affordable for the poorer sections of society.

Also, read Ultra processed foods: low nutritional value and toxins cause harm!

One should limit the consumption of fast foods. And simultaneously aim to incorporate healthy fresh whole foods in the diet such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and pulses.