Study Links Ultra-Processed Foods With Cancer Diagnoses

We all know the importance of eating a well-balanced diet, but a recent report has shown consuming ultra-processed foods (UPFs) is linked with an increased risk of developing certain types of cancers.

The Lancet recently published a study looking at how the two are connected, examining the impact of UPF consumption on cancer risk and mortality in British adults.

Looking at the diets of 197,426 people aged between 40 and 69 over nearly ten years, the researchers discovered 15,921 participants developed cancer.

It found the mean UPF consumption was 22.9 per cent of the total diet. For every ten per cent increase in UPF consumption, there was a two per cent higher incidence of any cancer and a 19 per cent greater risk of ovarian cancer.

The report also revealed every ten-percentage point rise in UPF consumption resulted in a six per cent higher risk of cancer-related mortality, which increased to 30 per cent for ovarian cancer and 16 per cent for breast cancer.

Dr Kiara Chang, who was one of the authors of the study, told The Independent: “Ultra-processed foods are everywhere and highly marketed with cheap price and attractive packaging to promote consumption. This shows our food environment needs urgent reform to protect the population from ultra-processed foods.”

To reduce the risk of cancer, people should cut down on their UPF consumption and eat more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and pulses. UPFs include pre-packaged meals, industrialised bread, breakfast cereals, reconstituted meat products, confectionary, biscuits, pasties, buns, cakes, chips, soft drinks, tinned soups, salty snacks, sauces and dressings.


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