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Americans addicted to processed foods that could cause cancer, new studies claim

New York Post logo: MainLogo New York Post 1/31/2023 Brooke Kato

Processed foods are more than just bad for your waistline — they can be devastating to your overall health.

New research from the Imperial College’s School of Public Health shows that “ultra-processed foods” are linked to an increased risk of developing cancer.

The London-based researchers classified ultra-processed foods as products like carbonated drinks, cereals, mass-produced and packaged bread and pre-packaged meals. The study authors noted that such foods are typically not ingredients used in household cooking but instead are made up of “derived ingredients,” such as high fructose corn syrup or modified starch.

They discovered that those who consumed convenience food items were potentially at a higher risk of developing life-threatening cancers after studying 200,000 middle-aged participants over the course of a decade.

The UK study, which was published in eClinicalMedicine, concluded that ovarian and brain cancers were more likely to develop in people who ate the food, while ovarian and breast cancers were more likely to kill them.

© Provided by New York Post Ultra-processed foods and drinks could lead to an increased risk of developing cancer.Getty Images/EyeEm

As participants increased their junk food diet by 10%, there was a 2% increased risk of developing cancer, the authors found, while also taking into account lifestyle behaviors including smoking, diets and exercise, as well as socioeconomic class and body mass index.

“Although our study cannot prove causation, other available evidence shows that reducing ultra-processed foods in our diet could provide important health benefits,” Dr. Eszter Vamous, a study author, said in a statement, noting that the research “adds to the growing evidence” that processed foods can negatively impede people’s health.

“Further research is needed to confirm these findings and understand the best public health strategies to reduce the widespread presence and harms of ultra-processed foods in our diet,” she added.

© Provided by New York Post Even cereal is classified as processed food.Getty Images

The study comes as data emerges from the University of Michigan that suggests Americans are addicted to processed junk foods. According to the data, 44% of adults aged 50 to 80 who participated in the survey had at least one symptom of addiction to processed foods.

see also © Provided by New York Post 10 ways fast food is making you depressed and slowly killing you

The most common symptoms, they reported, were intense cravings, the inability to limit processed food consumption despite wanting to, and “signs of withdrawal.” The survey authors also noted that one in eight respondents said it “caused them a lot of distress” two or three times a week.

Previous research has shown links between processed foods and adverse health effects. While junk foods and cheat meals can pack on the pounds, they can also affect consumers’ mental health and could even be a culprit for autoimmune disorders.

In fact, there may be a scientific reason it’s impossible to put down the sleeve of Oreos or a large fry: Junk food highjacks the brain, making it more difficult to put a goodie down.

Experts have long said such processed foods warrant a stark warning label on the front of their packaging – and the authors of the Imperial study agree.

© Provided by New York Post Americans show symptoms of addiction to processed foods, one survey says.Getty Images

“We need clear front-of-pack warning labels for ultra-processed foods to aid consumer choices, and our sugar tax should be extended to cover ultra-processed fizzy drinks, fruit-based and milk-based drinks, as well as other ultra-processed products,” said study author Dr. Kiara Chang.

“Lower income households are particularly vulnerable to these cheap and unhealthy ultra-processed foods,” she continued. “Minimally processed and freshly prepared meals should be subsidized to ensure everyone has access to healthy, nutritious and affordable options.”


New York Post

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