Reasons to Avoid Ultra-processed Foods

June 10, 2024 by First Federal Bank

blog.ffbf.comhubfsfood-1We all want to be as healthy as we can. But when it comes to the foods we eat, there can be a lot of confusion. It seems every week there is some new diet fad claiming to be the best approach to healthy eating.

But there are things doctors know to be truths when it comes to the relationship between what we consume and our health. And one fact is very clear, the ultra-processed foods so prevalent in the American diet today are bad for us.

According to, a new review of 45 meta-analyses on almost 10 million people found eating ultra-processed foods raises the risk of developing a multitude of diseases and health conditions:

We found consistent evidence linking higher intakes of ultra-processed foods with over 70% of the 45 different health outcomes we assessed,” said senior author Wolfgang Marx, a senior research fellow at the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, in an email.

A higher intake was considered about one serving or about 10% more ultra-processed foods per day, said Heinz Freisling, a scientist in the nutrition and metabolism branch of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, in an email.

This proportion can be regarded as ‘baseline’ and for people consuming more than this baseline, the risk might increase,” said Freisling, who was not involved in the study.

Researchers graded each study as having credible or strong, highly suggestive, suggestive, weak or no evidence. All the studies in the review were published in the past three years, and none was funded by companies involved in the production of ultra-processed foods, the authors said.

Strong evidence shows that a higher intake of ultra-processed foods was associated with approximately 50% higher risk of cardiovascular disease-related death and common mental disorders,” said lead author Dr. Melissa Lane, a postdoctoral research fellow at Deakin, in an email. Cardiovascular disease encompasses heart attacks, stroke, clogged arteries and peripheral artery disease.

There was convincing evidence that a high versus low intake of ultra-processed foods could increase the risk of anxiety by up to 53%, and the risk of an early death from any cause by 20%, according to the study published Wednesday in the journal The BMJ.

It’s not surprising that there are a lot of studies that point to a positive association between ultra-processed food consumption and the risk of various disease outcomes,” said cancer epidemiologist Fang Fang Zhang, associate professor and chair of the division of nutrition epidemiology and data science at Tufts University in Boston. She was not involved in the new research.

Ultra-processed foods are high in calories, added sugar, sodium, and low in fiber,” Zhang said. “All of these have already been known to contribute to cardiometabolic health outcomes, weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension.”

To learn more about what ultra-processed foods are, how they are made, and how to reduce your consumption, read the full article here. That way, you can make better choices at the grocery store moving forward.

Categories: Lifestyle

Leave us a comment and join the conversation.