Foods that are ultra-processed are factory made and include various ingredients many people might not know of. They include items such as: instant noodles, ready meals, cakes and confectionery. These foods account for half of all food bought and consumed by families in the UK.
They contained various additives, preservatives, flavourings and colourings. High levels of sugar, fat and salt are also included in ultra-processed foods. According to a significant, ground-breaking study, ultra-processed foods may be linked to cancer.
New Findings Indicate a Cancer Link
Paris based researchers studied the medical records and eating habits of nearly 105,000 adults. Overall, an intake of 3,300 different food items were recorded. Results indicated a 10% increase in the amount of ultra-processed foods in the diet was linked to a 12% increase in some forms of cancer. Researchers also studied the increased risk of specific cancer types and discovered an 11% increase in breast cancer.
Overall, the results of the study indicated that the rapidly growing consumption of ultra-processed food could motivate an increase risk of cancer development in the coming decades.
Further Research is Needed
Although the link between ultra-processed foods and obesity has already been established, the link to cancer is relatively new. The results have been described as “very strong, very consistent and quite compelling”. Foods which are overly processed usually have their nutrients stripped away. Nevertheless, the lack of nutritional value is not being cited as the cause of the increased cancer risk.
Essentially, the cause of the cancer risk has yet to be established. At present, scientists only know that the risk is present. The researchers involved are urging people to remain cautious as the outcome of the study isn’t definitive yet. Because it is a first study, the results need to be confirmed by other preceding studies.
In the coming years, researchers will focus their efforts on analysing “the chronic exposer of people to food additives”. The aim is to study the effects of additives on the people who consume them and whether there is an effect. Until a there is a definitive conclusion, the public is being urged to be aware of what goes into their food by checking labels.