New Study Links Processed Foods with Increased Risk of Cancer

Feb 16, 2018, 04:51
New Study Links Processed Foods with Increased Risk of Cancer

According to the results, increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods by 10 percent was associated with an accompanying 12-percent uptick in risk of being diagnosed with any type of cancer and an 11-percent increase in developing breast cancer in particular.

"To our knowledge, this study is the first to investigate and highlight an increase in the risk of overall - and specifically breast - cancer associated with ultra-processed food intake", the authors noted. These foods often contain high levels of sugar, fat, and salt, and lack in essential vitamins and fibre. A new study links highly processed foods with increased cancer risk.

A prevention expert from UK's Cancer Research organization, Linda Bauld, has said that there is no cause for concern yet about consuming a bit of processed food.

She said: "This study suggests that eating more processed foods like fizzy drinks, crisps and biscuits could increase your overall risk of cancer". The connection with certain cancers but not all was also notable, he added.

The study states, "Ultra-processed fats and sauces, sugary products and drinks were associated with an increased risk of overall cancer". Packaged foods contain more sugar, fat, and salt than anything made in a home or restaurant kitchen, and also don't have almost as much stomach-filling fiber and important nutrients.

Of note: Americans get more than half of their daily calories from highly processed foods. Participants were split into four equal groups, depending on how much processed foods they had in their diet. Each person was tasked with responding to two online dietary questionnaires that were created to record their intake of around 3,300 different types of food items.

Their findings are based on 104,980 healthy French adults (22% men; 78% women) with an average age of 43 years who completed at least two 24-hour online dietary questionnaires, created to measure usual intake of 3,300 different food items (NutriNet-Santé cohort study).

Aside from deepening general understanding of the links between nutrition and health, the study's findings could also help shape policy debates in developed countries, including the marketing and taxation of ultra-processed foods. They also tend to have diabetes or heart and circulation problems, according to a study. And people who mainly ate fresh and unprocessed foods - such as fruit, vegetables, pulses, meat and fish - had a lower cancer risk. The paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, sparked a rash of national press attacks on overly processed food products. But given the fact that the research controlled for factors like family history, age, sex, prescription birth control (in the case of breast cancer), body mass index, and education, it's hard to imagine what other factors might explain the bump in cancer rates among packaged-food eaters.

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