If you eat ultra-processed foods you have more chances of premature death

Ultra-processed foods take time in the focus of scientists, who warn of the health risks they can cause. However, now two studies published in the medical journal BMJ have revealed that the consumption of this type of food is related to the possibility of suffering a premature death.

A team from the University of Navarra and another from the University of Paris have reached similar conclusions separately. Mathilde Touvier, doctor of the University of Paris, explains that the increase in the consumption of these foods "can generate a substantial burden of cardiovascular diseases in the coming decades. "

For her part, the professor of the University of Navarra Maira Bes-Rastrollo is "very convinced" that the Ultra-processed foods are harmful to health. However, although they have been able to relate the consumption of these foods with poor health, they can not certify one hundred percent that bad health is caused by those foods. This is explained to the BBC by Kevin McConway, professor of statistics at the Open University: "These studies increase my confidence that there is something real in that association, but I'm still not sure."

The two studies

In the first study published in the BMJ, the team of the University of Navarra followed the diet of 19,899 people for a decade. In that period 335 people died: but of them, for every 10 deceased people who consumed few ultra-processed foods there were 16 whose diet was full of this type of food, 60 percent more.

In the second research, the University of Paris analyzed more than 105,000 people. In this case, all the cardiovascular diseases suffered by the participants in the study were recorded and the data revealed that the people who ate few ultra-processed ones had an average 242 problems every year, while those who ingested many ultraprocessors suffered 15 percent more, 277 Cardiovascular problems every year on average.

Ultra processed food

The foods that we eat daily are divided between unprocessed, processed and ultraprocessed. The healthiest and natural are the first, since we take them as we get them and are not subjected to any change, while the ultra-processed ones are the most harmful since the food industry has modified them for our consumption.

  • Unprocessed food: fruits, vegetables, meat, milk, legumes, eggs, seeds or grains, etc.
  • Processed foods: cheese, bacon, canned fruits or vegetables, beer, smoked fish, etc.
  • Ultra processed food: sausages, hamburgers, breakfast cereals, instant soups, sugary sodas, chicken nuggets, ice cream, ready-to-heat meals, meal substitute shakes, etc.

If a food that we buy in the supermarket carries more than five ingredients, it is almost certainly an ultra-processed food

Professor Maira Bes-Rastrollo explains that if a food that we buy in the supermarket carries more than five ingredients, it is almost certainly an ultra-processed food. The association of these foods with premature death has led experts to ask in some countries that Ultra-processed foods carry a label in their containers warning of the danger they pose.