Ultra-processed foods (snacks, soft drinks, sweetened cereals, prepared foods with additives, dehydrated soups, and reconstituted meat and fish products) are generally characterized by high levels of sugar, fat and salt, and low vitamin and fiber content.
Two studies published in the British Medical Journal assure that the consumption of ultra-processed foods increases between 11 and 62 percent the risk of death and cardiovascular, coronary and cerebrovascular pathologies.
One of the published works was developed in France by NutriNet-Santé and evaluated the relationship between ultra-processed foods and the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.
For this purpose, the scientists worked with 105,159 French adults (43 years on average). These people completed dietary questionnaires, every day for five years, to measure the regular intake of 3,300 foods.
"The problem with ultra-processed foods is not only the low nutritional quality and high energy density. They also displace the consumption of healthy products," says Dr. Maira Bes-Rastrollo. The study showed no difference in the increase of risk according to gender. This is something that should be studied in depth.
A second study, by researchers in Spain, showed that the consumption of more than four portions a day of these foods is associated with a 62 percent greater risk of mortality, from all causes, compared to consumption of less than two portions a day. In numbers, for every 10 deaths among those who ate less ultra-processed food, there were 16 among those who consumed more.
For this study, 19,899 Spanish university graduates (38 years on average), completed a 136-item dietary questionnaire as part of the University of Navarra (SUN) Follow-up Study.