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February 20, 2019

Ultra-processed foods could be early death sentence: study

February 12, 2019
Processed food (iStockphoto)

Love chicken nuggets? Frequent slurper of those $1-per-packet noodle bowls? Does a majority of your daily diet come out of a plastic package?

You might be setting yourself up for an early death, according to a new study linking ultra-processed foods with a higher chance of expiring before one’s time.

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Ultra-processed foods are those “manufactured industrially from multiple ingredients that usually include additives used for technological and/or cosmetic purposes,” the study authors wrote, according to CNN. They are “mostly consumed in the form of snacks, desserts, or ready-to-eat or -heat meals.”

Moreover, consumption of these items have increased greatly over the past several decades, said the study, published on Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The JAMA findings were extracted from a cohort study of 44?551 French adults aged 45 years or more, with an average age of 57. About three-quarters were women, and on average 29% of their total daily calorie intake came from ultra-processed food such as “chicken nuggets, preserved meat products, packaged snacks and instant noodle soup meals,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

“A 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed food consumption was statistically significantly associated with a 14% higher risk of all-cause mortality,” the study authors said in the abstract. “An increase in ultra-processed food consumption may be associated with an overall higher mortality risk; further prospective research is needed to confirm these findings.”

The increased consumption of foods that may shorten one’s time on Earth are, ironically, designed to save time at the front end.

“We are living in a fast world, and people are looking for convenient solutions. We are always stretched for time,” said Nurgul Fitzgerald, an associate professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, to CNN. “People are looking for quick solutions, a quickly made meal.”

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