Not all ultra-processed foods are harmful to health – WHO study

Not all ultra-processed foods are harmful to health – WHO study

Some ultra-processed foods, such as breads and cereals, are good for humans because they contain fiber. They can reduce the risk of developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

These are the conclusions of a study published in The Lancet, writes the Guardian. The scientists were based on an analysis of the food history of almost 267,000 people in seven European countries.

Scientists investigated which processed foods cause the risk of polymorbidity – the development of several life-shortening diseases (for example, cancer and heart disease) in one patient.

Not all ultra-processed foods are harmful. Photo: AntonMatyukha/Depositphotos

Their conclusions indicate that:

  • artificially sweetened drinks, processed products of animal origin, sauces, spreads, seasonings are harmful – they increase the likelihood of developing a number of serious diseases;
  • sweets and desserts, ready-made meals, salty snacks, vegetable alternatives to meat products are also harmful to human health, but this harm is less – they are “not associated with the occurrence of polymorbidity”;
  • bread and cereals that undergo intensive processing are useful because they reduce the risk of many diseases due to their fiber content.

Factors due to which processed products can be dangerous for health, scientists associate with changes in their nutritional properties in the process of creation and contamination with elements from which packaging materials are made. They can affect the endocrine system or the gut microbiome and contribute to further risk of disease.

Experts claim: it is unreasonable and unfounded to consider all processed products harmful to health.

“In this multinational European study, we found that a higher intake of processed foods was associated with a higher risk of polymorbidity of cancer and cardiometabolic disease,” – convince the authors.

According to them, people who want to reduce this risk should replace some processed foods in their diet with “similar, but less processed” foods or follow a Mediterranean diet.

The heightened concern surrounding these foods stems from the fact that, according to some estimates, 50% to 60% of the foods consumed in some high-income countries are processed rather than freshly prepared.

“The data from this study confirmed the effects of some processed foods on the development of multiple chronic diseases. But they also suggest that the general assumption that all such foods are harmful is probably wrong.” says Dr. Ian Johnson, nutrition researcher and emeritus fellow at the Quadram Institute.

Iryna Batiuk, “UP. Life”

Read also: Salt abuse increases the risk of type 2 diabetes – study

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