Eating ultra-processed foods has been linked to a higher risk of cancer, according to new research that was published in the British Medical Journal.
Ultra-processed foods are made in factories and come with ingredients that you would not find in regular kitchens. They are known to be unhealthy, but the study proves that they are an even bigger health risk than previously thought.
The Link Between Ultra-Processed Food And Cancer
A previous study found that over half of the calories in the average American diet come from ultra-processed food. Such food contains chemicals that are not commonly used for cooking, including emulsifiers and additives that mimic real food.
Examples of ultra-processed food are packaged snacks such as chips, chocolate bars and sweets, instant noodles and soups, frozen or shelf-life ready meals, soda and other sweetened drinks, and other food that are mostly made up of fats, oils, and sugar.
Ultra-processed food is not only linked to calories, as a new study has associated them with higher overall cancer risk. A team of researchers from Université Sorbonne Paris Cité in France used food surveys over a two-day period to determine the food that nearly 105,000 respondents were eating.
According to the study's results, 18 percent of the respondents' diets were composed of ultra-processed food, and that on average, there were 79 cancer cases each year per 10,000 people. The findings found that increasing the consumption of ultra-processed food by 10 percent increased the number of cancer cases by 12 percent.
The study specifically linked "ultra-processed fats and sauces, sugary products and drinks" to an overall higher risk of cancer, and "ultra-processed sugary products" to a higher risk of breast cancer.
"These results suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades," the study concluded.
The next step in the research is to determine which specific components of the ultra-processed food directly contribute to higher cancer risk.
Breakthrough Cancer Treatment
Cancer is a dreaded disease, and researchers in the medical field have been hard at work in looking for effective treatment. Recent advancements include the use of DNA nanorobots that were programmed to cut off the blood supply of cancer tumors to kill them, and an experimental vaccine that wiped out all the tumors in the body of mice injected with cancer cells.
But, as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. These treatments will not be made available to the general public soon, so it would be much better to avoid eating too much ultra-processed food for now.