Consuming highly processed foods linked to a higher likelihood of cancer

Research provides another reason why you should avoid processed foods: You are putting yourself at risk of cancer. A study published in the British Medical Journal has found a link between eating highly processed or “ultra-processed” foods and a higher risk of cancer.

In the study, the researchers assessed the link between highly processed food intake and risk of cancer. To do this, they looked at 104,980 participants at least 18 years old with an average age of 42.8 years old enrolled at the French NutriNet-Santé cohort. The study’s participants recorded their food consumption from a selection of more than 3,000 items for two days. The researchers observed the participants for an average of five years.

The researchers categorized the foods according to their degree of processing by the NOVA classification, which is a food classification system that looks at the extent and purpose of food processing over nutrients to determine a food’s healthfulness.

Packed bread and snacks, sodas and sweetened beverages, chocolates and candies, instant noodles and soups, frozen meals, and foods containing high amounts of sugar, oil, and fat were considered “ultra-processed” foods. These foods are loaded with chemicals and additives that are detrimental to health. An average of 18 percent of the participants’ diet was ultra-processed.

The results revealed that a 10 percent increase in the proportion of highly processed foods in the diet was linked to an 11 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer. It was also linked to a 12 percent increase in the risk of overall cancer. This means that the more processed food you eat, the higher your risk of cancer is.

With these findings, it may be concluded that rapidly increasing consumption of highly processed foods may contribute to the increasing prevalence of cancer and cancer death. (Related: Eating diet of processed foods proven to raise cancer risk in women.)

Other negative health effects of eating highly processed foods

Eating processed foods can do more harm to your health other than increasing your cancer risk. Here are more reasons to convince you to quit eating these foods:

  • They contain high amounts of added sugar, sodium, and fat: Consuming high amounts of sugar, sodium, and fat can result in other serious health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
  • They are addictive: Processed foods are manufactured to make you addicted to them. Manufacturers of processed foods include ingredients that make their products highly rewarding to people. The reward system of the brain enables you to consume more of the foods you like than what your body actually needs.
  • They are loaded with artificial ingredients: Check the label of your favorite junk food. If you can barely pronounce most of its ingredients and barely know them, then they are most likely artificial or harmful ingredients. Consuming these ingredients can harm your health.
  • They are high in refined carbohydrates but low in nutrients and fiber: Refined carbohydrates found in processed foods can increase your blood sugar too quickly, which can result in a decline several hours later and make you feel even hungrier. In addition, processed foods often lose their nutrients and fiber during processing. While synthetic nutrients are added in, they are not as effective and safe.

Read more news stories and studies on foods that cause cancer by going to

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