Ultra-Processed Foods Linked to Higher Cancer Risk: Study - medtigo



Ultra-Processed Foods Linked to Higher Cancer Risk: Study

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According to Science Daily, The School of Public Health at Imperial College London conducted the most extensive study on the possible link between ultra-processed foods and cancer risk. Carbonated drinks, packaged bread, numerous ready dinners, and the vast majority of morning cereals are examples of ultra-processed foods.  

Ultra-processed foods have a sizable consumer base due to their perceived healthfulness, accessibility, and low cost. However, these meals often include more salt, fat, sugar, and artificial chemicals. Numerous adverse health outcomes have been linked to them, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  

Researchers used data from the UK Biobank to analyze the diets of 200,000 middle-aged adults in the UK’s first study of its kind. Participants’ health was monitored for ten years, and their overall risk and risk for 34 types of cancer were calculated. There was also research into the possibility of dying from cancer.  

A diet high in ultra-processed foods was found to have a robust correlation with ovarian and brain cancers. This also contributed to an increase in cancer deaths, particularly ovarian and breast cancers. For every 10% increase in ultra-processed food consumption, ovarian cancer rates increased by 19%.  

In addition to a 30% increase in ovarian cancer mortality for every 10% increase in ultra-processed food consumption, this trend was associated with a 6% increase in overall cancer mortality and a 16% increase in breast cancer mortality.  

Even after controlling for various demographic, behavioral, and dietary factors, such as smoking, exercise, and diet, these associations persisted (BMI). Researchers previously discovered that British adults and children had the highest per capita intake of ultra-processed foods in Europe. According to the study’s authors, high ultra-processed food consumption was also associated with an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes in adults and long-term weight gain in children in the United Kingdom.  

“This study adds to the mounting evidence that ultra-processed meals are likely to harm our health, including our risk of cancer,” said Dr. Eszter Vamos, senior study author and dean of Imperial College London’s School of Public Health. Because of the high consumption rates among adults and children, this has severe implications for people’s health in the UK in the future.

However, there is mounting evidence that avoiding highly processed foods benefits health, and while our study did not establish causality, we believe this is the case. This study emphasizes the significance of further research into the prevalence and adverse health effects of eating ultra-processed foods.  

“The typical individual in the UK eats more than half of their daily calorie intake from ultra-processed foods,” said Dr. Kiara Chang, the study’s first author and a professor at Imperial College London’s School of Public Health. This is particularly concerning because food additives are frequently used to modify the appearance, taste, smell, texture, and shelf life of ultra-processed foods, typically made with ingredients sourced from the industrial food system.  

These ultra-processed chemicals and additives may not have the same effect on our bodies as natural, healthful foods with minimum processing. On the other hand, Ultra-processed foods are readily available because of active marketing that includes low prices and appealing packaging to encourage sales.


The importance of reforming our food environment to protect the public from ultra-processed foods is emphasized. The World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations both recommend reducing the consumption of ultra-processed foods for health and sustainability.  

Recent dietary recommendations updates in nations such as Brazil, France, and Canada stress limiting ultra-processed foods. Furthermore, promoting ultra-processed meals at educational institutions is forbidden in Brazil. The United Kingdom has yet to implement similar policies to combat the widespread consumption of ultra-processed foods. Dr. Chang also argued that other ultra-processed products, such as fruit and milk-based drinks, should be taxed. He contended that prominent warning labels on the front of packages of highly processed foods would encourage people to make better food choices.  

Ultra-processed foods pose a particular threat to low-income families due to their low price and high-calorie content. There would be no need for food stamps if everyone had access to reasonably priced, healthy food prepared with as little processing as possible. The researchers emphasize that because this is an observational study, their findings cannot establish a causal link between eating highly processed foods and developing cancer.  

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