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How Dangerous Are Ultra-Processed Foods to Your Health?

by Richard A Reagan

We all know that fatty, sugary, processed foods aren’t the best for us. And we all know that a balanced diet of meat, vegetables, fruit, and complex carbohydrates is perhaps the healthiest way to eat. But sometimes we just can’t help ourselves.

Whether we’re facing deadlines at work, don’t have the time to fix dinner at home, or just want a quick snack, many of us can’t resist the urge to grab some ultra-processed food. Whether it’s a fast food hamburger, a can of soda, or a bag of chips, it’s incredibly easy to find ultra-processed food to eat. But it’s not that healthy for us to consume.

Researchers have often wondered just how dangerous ultra-processed foods can be, and what effects they can have on our health. And now, thanks to two new studies, we may have a better idea of how dangerous ultra-processed foods can be.

One study that looked at over 100,000 people followed them for nearly a decade. Researchers analyzed their dietary choices and classified the foods those people consumed based on their level of processing. They found that for every 10% increase in consumption of ultra-processed foods, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease increased by 12%, the risk of developing coronary heart disease increased by 13%, and the risk of developing cerebrovascular disease increased by 11%.

A further study of nearly 20,000 adults that also analyzed diet choices over a period of a decade found that people who ate more than four servings of ultra-processed food each day had a 62% greater chance of dying from any cause than people who ate fewer than two servings of ultra-processed foods each day. The statistics from both of those studies are quite sobering.

While both of these studies relied on questionnaires rather than actually observing food consumption, the findings do need to be taken seriously. If you consume ultra-processed food on a regular basis, the danger can’t be underestimated. You’ll want to cut back on consumption of ultra-processed foods and consume more natural and minimally-processed foods if you really want to improve your health.

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