Kuala Lumpur, June 4 — A study from Spain recently published in the British Medical Journal has concluded that consumption of large quantities of heavily processed foods will result in a greater risk of heart attack, stroke and early death.
They also contributed towards developing obesity, high blood pressure and cancer.
This category of food, also known as ultra-processed foods include meals-ready-to-eat, instant noodles, pizza to carbonated drinks, ice cream, and fruit drinks.
The study monitored the eating habits and health of nearly 20,000 Spanish graduates from 1999 to 2014.
In the research duration, 335 participants died. A number of parameters were taken into consideration such as sex, age, body mass index and whether the individuals smoked. The findings were clear.
Those who had more than four servings of ultra-processed foods, representing the top quarter of study participants, were 62 percent more likely to have died than those who ate less than two portions a day. The risk of death rose by 18 percent for each additional serving of such food.
Maria Bes-Rastrollo of the University of Navarra, who led the research team, said the fact that the death rate rose with increased consumption strongly suggested that ultra-processed foods were responsible.
“Ultra-processed foods are made predominantly or entirely from industrial substances and contain little or no whole foods. They are ready to heat, drink, or eat.”
Ultra-processed foods are often formulated from industrial ingredients, blending starches, sugar and saturated fats with additives such as preservatives, binders, bulkers, sweeteners, and flavourings.
In an accompanying editorial in the journal, Mark Lawrence and Phillip Baker of Deakin University, Australia, who work on food and nutrition policy wrote: “The dietary advice is relatively straightforward: eat less ultra-processed food and more unprocessed or minimally processed food.”
Recent nutritional studies in Malaysia have found that the diet of younger people in particular, is increasingly made up of ultra-processed food. This has lead to increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases and disorders such as childhood obesity.