Your Love for Processed Foods May Lead You Down a Dangerous Path
We all know that processed foods are extremely bad for our health but it’s not easy to resist those delicious birthday cakes or sugary donuts your colleagues often bring in the office. Now a new research is showing that our favorite Krispy Kreme treat with sprinkles on top isn’t just damaging our waistline, but it can actually increase our risk of cancer.
Your Favorite Sugary Treats Cause Cancer
Ever picked up a food at your local supermarket only to discover a never-ending list of unpronounceable ingredients on the label? It just so happens that these ingredients are causing serious damage to your health and well-being. Researchers have recently discovered that ultra-processed foods with excessive amounts of emulsifiers, additives, artificial flavors and coloring are causing an increased risk of cancer in consumers.
Although it’s difficult to find foods nowadays that aren’t processed to some degree, it is the ultra-processed, calorie-dense foods, packed with refined carbs, sodium and strange ingredients that are causing most of the damage. The increasing weight that these types of foods cause leads to a host of other health conditions such as diabetes, poor blood circulation and cardiovascular diseases. Processed meats such as bacon, sausages and cold-cut deli meats are also linked with a high risk of cancer, researchers concluded.
Dipping Sauces Also Considered Ultra-Processed
The study used data from 105,000 participants in France’s NutriNet-Sante cohort and recorded every single thing they ate over a period of 24 hours. Among the foods named by the participants, at least 3,300 items were processed to some degree. Scientists used the NOVA system to rank the foods according to their nutritional value and categorize them into two groups: processed and ultra-processed.
At the end of the experiment it was found that people who consumed more of the ultra-processed foods stood a higher chance of getting cancer. With every 10 per cent increase in the amount of these foods in diet, the risk of overall cancer increased also by 10 per cent. The study explained that some of the popular dipping sauces and dressings were also ranked as ultra-processed foods and posed similar health risks as other notorious choices like donuts and hotdogs.
Indirect Link to Other Unhealthy Habits
Not only was the consumption of ultra-processed foods linked directly to cancer risk due to potent ingredients, but it was also indirectly tied to other unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking and physical inactivity, which further boosted the risk of cancer along with other heart and lung diseases. Mathilde Touvier, the co-author of the study, said that impacts of ultra-processed foods on health, in a bigger, more concerning picture, were shaving years off consumers’ lives due to the number of threats they posed to overall health.
Other experts who weren’t involved in the study were skeptical of the results and cautioned that even though the theory of ultra-processed foods being related to certain diseases is quite interesting, it does need to be researched more before translating it into a nutritional advice for consumers. Moreover, it is important to take all other lifestyle and environmental factors into consideration before reaching any hard conclusion about the risks of certain foods.
Reconsider Your Entire Diet
Nutritionist Marji McCullough advises researchers to be cautious when overtly linking foods with diseases like cancer without thoroughly explaining other factors. The take-away message of this study from the point-of-view of a reader with no scientific background is to stop eating all processed foods in order to avoid cancer. Instead of making changes to their overall dietary and lifestyle pattern, people will think that even if they eat a single hot dog, they will get cancer.
According to McCullough, it’s the aggregate effect of your diet and lifestyle which impacts your risk of cancer rather than a single ingredient. People who are consuming more processed foods rich in calories, aren’t getting enough healthy foods in their diet. To combat this problem, experts recommend adding whole foods and good sources of carbs and fats instead of completely eliminating the processed foods which can lead to undereating.
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