"Ultraprocessed foods are manufactured industrially from a number of ingredients that usually contain additives that are used for technological and / or cosmetic purposes," wrote the authors of the study, which was published on Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. "Ultra-processed foods are mostly consumed in the form of snacks, desserts or ready-to-eat or heated foods, and their consumption has skyrocketed in recent decades."
This trend could lead to an increase in early deaths from chronic diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.
In the United States, 61% of an adult's total diet is from ultra-processed foods, while in Canada it is 63% in the UK, a recent study found. However, research also shows that the consumption of ultra-processed foods can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and cancer, say the authors of the study.
To understand the relationship between ultra-processed foods and the risk of death expected earlier than expected, the researchers asked 44,551
French adults over the age of 45 for two years. Their average age was 57 years and almost 73% of the participants were women. Every six months, they provided food records 24 hours a day, as well as questionnaires on their state of health (including body mass index and other measurements), physical activity and socio-demographics.
The researchers calculated the total food intake and consumption of each participant's ultra-processed food
Ultra-processed foods accounted for more than 14% of the total weight of food and about 29% of total calories. Consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with younger age, lower income, lower educational attainment, lone lives, higher BMI, and lower physical activity levels.