According to a new study that appeared in the British Medical Journal on the 15th February 2018, ultra-processed foods could well put our health in danger. Bread, sweets, cereals, sugary drinks, ready meals or frozen foods: there are many types of foods that increase the risk of cancer.
Consuming ultra-processed foods increases the risk of cancer
As part of this study, 150,000 people responded to online questionnaires regarding their eating habits between 2009 and 2017. Having analysed the results, the researchers concluded that “the consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with a higher global risk of cancer (from 6 to 18%) and particularly of breast cancer” (from 2 to 22%).
According to researcher Dr. Mathilde Touvier, “these ultra-processed foods should be differentiated from processed foods“. For example, canned vegetables are simply processed, while frozen vegetable stir fry mixes are ultra-processed via chemical or biological processes.
- a higher quantity of fats and saturated fats
- a fairly high quantity of added sugar and salt
- other contaminants that form during cooking
- bisphenol A, an endocrine disruptor, which comes from the packaging
The researchers believe that if these foods cause cancer, the risk could be coming from the additives present in the foods, from their quality, or from the materials with which they have come into contact.
According to the WHO, the consumption of high calorie foods which are high in fats is one of the main causes for obesity worldwide. The number of obese people has more than doubled in 73 countries since 1980, and includes 710 million people worldwide, including over 100 million children.
A massive percentage of our food is processed
Although health authorities are never done advocating eating unprocessed, natural foods, further study is needed to measure the incidence and to better understand the impact of regular consumption of processed food on our health
In certain European countries, half of all foodstuffs consumed are processed, meaning there is a long way to go in terms of improving the situation. It could take time before more people are convinced to take the time and effort to cook with fresh, organic food.
Obviously, lifestyle plays a huge role in the incidence of cancer, which is why it is recommended that you limit or avoid the following:
- consumption of tobacco and alcohol
- a lack or absence of physical activity
- a diet that is not balanced or varied enough
- stress and anxiety