This Is the Link Between Processed Foods and Cancer

Eating processed food significantly raises the risk of cancer experts warned. They said the disease was claiming more lives because of the popularity of ready meals and sugary cereals

Also, people who like ultra-processed foods a little bit too much were also more likely to engage in unhealthy habits like smoking and exercising less than their peers not interested in the foods.

"One of the limitations of the study is that the definition of ultra-processed is too broad and vague which makes it impossible to be able to ascertain exactly what ( if any) causal connections between ultra-processed foods can be linked with cancer", Linia Patel a registered dietitian and British Dietetic Association (BDA) spokesperson told IBTimes UK.

We already know so-called ultra-processed foods are, in general, bad for your health, but this is the first study to link them to an increase in cancer.

Processed snacks, drinks and desserts may be associated with a higher risk of cancer, according to a new study.

The results concluded that a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with increases of 12% in the risk of overall cancer and 11% in the risk of breast cancer.

Sanders, who was not involved in the study, said the authors made statistical adjustments to accommodate for some of that, but he cautions that "the approach of categorizing dietary patterns that depend on industrially processed food in relation to disease risk is novel but probably needs refining before it can be translated into practical dietary advice".

Prof Donal O'Shea, consultant endocrinologist at St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, said the study provided "the clearest signal yet" that ultra-processed foods were linked to cancers, and were linked to common cancers in a young population.

They said that more work is needed to better understand the effects of food processing, however they added that policies which target product reformulation, taxation and the marketing of these ultra-processed products, along with the promotion of fresh or minimally processed foods, may contribute to cancer prevention.

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Not all processed foods appeared to be equal.

What are ultra-processed foods?

They said the disease was claiming more lives because of the popularity of ready meals, sugary cereals and fizzy drinks.

The study underscored that the recently found link remained strong even after the research team adjusted the findings for other factors that may influence the outcomes.

At the start of the study, participants had an average age of 43.

Consumption of fresh or minimally processed foods including fruits, vegetables, pulses, rice, pasta and fresh meat, was associated with a lower risk of overall cancer. We are a long way from understanding the full implications of food processing for health and well-being.

Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum said last night: "There is no smoke without fire - we should heed the scientists" fears and read food labels more carefully.

Processed foods often come with downsides such as high levels of added sugars and sodium, says Amy Keating R.D., a Consumer Reports' nutritionist.

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