Ultra-processed foods (such as carbonated drinks, sausages, chicken nuggets, candy, instant soups/foods and noodles) have low nutritional value and high energy density. Consumption of these types of products is on the rise. Two recent studies shed light on the adverse health effects of including these foods in your diet.
You Are What You Eat…
In a population-based French study, researchers examined the association between ultra-processed food consumption and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 105,000 adults. People in the highest quartile had 25% higher rates of CVD and stroke than did people in the lowest quartile of consumption. In other words, eating this type of diet leads to clogged arteries!
In a prospective Spanish study, 20,000 University graduates were followed over 10 years. Participants in the highest quartile of ultra-processed food consumption had 62% higher risk for all-cause death than did people in the lowest quartile. What you choose to eat does make a difference with respect to health and aging.
How and Why?
These results make sense: Ultra-processed foods are rich in sodium, sugar, and fat and poor in fiber. These foods are associated with a high glycemic response and tend to replace consumption of more nutritious food like vegetables. And ultra-processed foods contain additives (eg sulfites) or neoformed contaminants like acrylamide or they are packaged in materials (eg bisphenyl A aka BPA) associated with adverse health affects. Your liver has to work overtime to detoxify these unhealthy compounds and get them out of your system before they cause problems.
At Radiance Functional Medicine, we use Food as Medicine! We advocate consuming whole, real food and provide great recipes to make them tasty. Shop for foods with less than 5 ingredients on the label. Of course, we follow the 80:20 rule – no one is perfect! Let us teach you how to shop the periphery of the grocery store and buy food that fuels the body. We can help you make good, better, best choices!
Yours in Health,
Tracy and Shari
- BMJ 2019 May 29 (https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1451)
- BMJ 2019 May 29 (https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1949)
Eliminating ultra-processed foods from my grocery list also allows me to afford healthier options for other foods, like the free-range organic eggs or gluten-free pasta.