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The Dangers of Processed Foods

March 23, 20232 min read

Processed and ultra-processed foods have become a staple in the modern diet, but their popularity comes at a cost. These foods, which often contain high amounts of added sugars, fats, and salt, have been linked to a range of health problems. Here are some of the dangers associated with consuming too many processed and ultra-processed foods.

  1. Increased risk of obesity: Processed and ultra-processed foods are often high in calories and low in nutrients. This makes it easy to overconsume these foods, leading to weight gain and an increased risk of obesity.

  2. Higher risk of heart disease: Processed and ultra-processed foods are often high in saturated and trans fats, which can raise levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease.

  3. Increased risk of type 2 diabetes: Processed and ultra-processed foods are often high in added sugars, which can cause blood sugar levels to spike and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

  4. Negative impact on gut health: Ultra-processed foods are often low in fiber and other nutrients that support a healthy gut microbiome. This can lead to digestive issues and an increased risk of certain diseases.

  5. Linked to higher rates of cancer: Some studies have suggested that consuming large amounts of processed and ultra-processed foods may be linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as colorectal cancer.

Sources:

  1. Monteiro CA, Cannon G, Levy RB, et al. Ultra-processed foods: What they are and how to identify them. Public Health Nutr. 2019;22(5):936-941.

  2. Fiolet T, Srour B, Sellem L, et al. Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort. BMJ. 2018;360:k322.

  3. Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G. Comparison of the long-term effects of high-fat v. low-fat diet consumption on cardiometabolic risk factors in subjects with abnormal glucose metabolism: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2014;111(12):2047-2058.

  4. Vieux F, Maillot M, Rehm C, et al. U.S. food transitions and the global burden of disease: what do we know and what does it mean for policy? Am J Clin Nutr. 2018;107(6):897-904.

  5. Ekmekcioglu C. The role of functional foods, nutraceuticals, and food supplements in intestinal health. Nutrients. 2019;11(10):2383.

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