Breakfast cereals, frozen pizza, ready meals and soft drinks are highly processed and can increase your risk of cancer – especially ovarian or brain cancer.
Unlike mildly processed foods such as cheese, they usually contain more additives such as artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or preservatives. This is the result of a new study.
Researchers from the Imperial College London School of Public Health examined the dietary habits of nearly 200,000 middle-aged adults in the UK over a ten-year period and found that higher consumption of processed foods was associated with a higher risk of cancer in general and specifically ovarian cancer and brain tumours.
The study has been published in the journal The Lancet e-medicine It was published in collaboration with researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the University of São Paulo and NOVA University of Lisbon.
Almost 16,000 developed cancer
Over the years, of the 197,426 people screened, 15,921 developed cancer and 4,009 died from it.
The results: For every 10 percent increase in ultra-processed foods in the diet, the risk of some forms of cancer increases by 2 percent. In the case of ovarian cancer, the rate was 19 percent. These associations persisted even after accounting for other factors such as smoking, physical activity, and body mass index (BMI).
It’s not clear why the incidence of ovarian cancer is particularly high. However, separate research has linked the disease to acrylamide, an industrial chemical produced during high-temperature cooking processes.
“Some potentially carcinogenic substances, such as some controversial food additives and chemicals derived from processing, can interfere with the functioning of hormones and thus affect hormone-related cancers such as ovarian cancer,” said lead author of the study Eszter Vamos. Washington Post.
The United States is on top
Nearly 60 percent of the calories consumed by adults in the United States come from ultra-processed foods. In countries like England, Canada, France and Japan, they account for 25 to 50 percent.
“Ultra-processed foods are everywhere and are heavily marketed with cheap prices and attractive packaging to encourage consumption,” study author Kiara Chang said in a statement. This shows that our food environment is in dire need of reform to protect the population.”