Medicine

Consumption of Ultra-Processed Foods Linked To Cancer

Consumption of Ultra-Processed Foods Linked To Cancer

They stressed their research showed no more than a correlation between a diet high in ultra-processed foods and cancer.

Tom Sanders of the King's College London agreed that the term "ultra-processed food" was "difficult to define".

Researchers saw this new cancer link when they analyzed 24-hour dietary records of almost 105,000 adults in the NutriNet-Sante cohort, a general population group in France.

However, most food is processed to several degrees, but ultra-processed foods are typically much more calorie, sugar-packed, and sodium.

"In this large prospective study, a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a significant increase of greater than 10% in risks of overall and breast cancer".

McCullough strategic director of nutritional epidemiology at the American Cancer Society said, "This study doesn't mean that people should think 'if I eat this cracker, I'm going to get cancer, '" "The overriding message of this study was really to look at an overall diet pattern rather than a specific ingredient, and it supports a lot of what we already know".

Eating processed food significantly raises the risk of cancer, experts warned.

The kinds of "ultra-processed" foods associated with the increased risk of the disease included cakes, chicken nuggets, mass-produced bread, fizzy drinks, confectionery and processed meat. While a small rise in ultra-processed food intake was associated with an increased risk of cancer, there was no significant link between less processed foods - such as canned vegetables, cheese and fresh bread - and cancer.

"Processed food should not be demonised", said an FDF spokeswoman.




The research only uncovered patterns in the data, meaning it's impossible at this point to say that ultra-processed foods cause cancer, Touvier cautions.

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.

Until now, evidence linking the food types to cancer has been scarce.

The French-led study of 104,980 participants focused on an extremely broad range of food and drink "made mostly or entirely from sugar, oils and fats, and other substances not commonly used in culinary preparations".

However, ultra-processed foods occupy a growing part of the world's diet. "Eat real food and try to limit ultra processed items", Touvier said.

'Most of the compounds are probably safe, but some of these substances are of concern regarding cancer risk'.

They said the study was simply "an initial insight".

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.


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