SCOFFING junk food could annihilate your life, experts have warned today.
Bacon sarnies, potato chips, white bread, ready meals, sausages, sugary cereals and carbonated drinks increase the risk of premature death, they have discovered French scientists.
Ultra-processed foods make obesity, cancer and hypertension much more likely, according to their study.
Eating only 10 percent more junk food, it increases the risk of premature death by 14 percent, discovered by a team from the Paris-Sorbonne university.
More bad news for junk addicts
Adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests we need our diets globally, or to deal with chronic and fatal diseases.
Junk food is so popular in the UK, experts estimate that it represents half of the average British diet.
The team of dr. Laure Schnabel examined the diets of nearly 45,000 middle-aged people and found that heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases were related to consuming more junk food.
The dott. Schnabel said: "Ultra-processed foods contain more ingredients.
"They are usually ready to warm up and eat, at affordable and hyper-palatable prices.
"Examples include mass-produced and packaged snacks, sugary drinks, bread, confectionery, ready meals and processed meats.
"Ultra-processed foods are generally energy-dense, rich in refined carbohydrates, saturated fats and salt, and contain low dietary fiber.
"These characteristics have been associated with several non-communicable diseases that are the main cause of mortality".
The toxins that cause cancer could be the cause
Another reason for linking with deadly diseases could be contaminants, some of which could be carcinogenic, which were found in heat-treated treated foods.
Many contain legal but controversial additives such as sodium nitrite and titanium oxide.
Previous studies have shown that they cause high blood pressure and cancer.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD), respiratory diseases, cancer and diabetes account for over 80% of all premature deaths from non-communicable diseases worldwide.
The findings published on JAMA Internal Medicine were based on a survey of 44,551 healthy individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 in France with a mean age of 57 who kept food records 24 hours a day.
The British eat more junk food than the rest of the EU
This allowed researchers to measure the intake of over 3,000 different food products classified into four groups depending on their level of processing.
Overall, they accounted for 29 percent of total energy consumption – about 20 percent less than in the United Kingdom and other industrialized countries.
The dott. Schnabel said: "A 10% increase in the percentage of ultra-processed food consumption is statistically associated with a risk of more than 14% of all-cause mortality".
He suggests that the British are even more at risk because they consume far more ultra-processed food than the French.
Last year a study in 19 European countries found that 50% of food sold in the UK is ultra-processed compared to 46% in Germany, 45% in Ireland and 14% in France.
Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian, said: "This should be of considerable interest to us in the UK, as half of our daily caloric intake is considered by" ultra-processed "foods that use the same definitions as this study. "
Further investigation is required
Professor Nita Forouchi, from the University of Cambridge, said: "The case against highly processed foods during assembly.
"These foods are attractive because they tend to be cheaper, they are highly palatable because of the high sugar, salt and saturated fats, they are widely available, highly commercialized, ready to eat, and their use for date is long so they last longer."
He said to address the problem of which three Pss were needed:
- people need more information and health education is essential
- places that sell food must provide easy access and promote healthier options
- the products must be available that are not ultra-processed and are accessible.
But they and other experts have agreed that further research is needed before drawing firm conclusions.
The dott. Ian Johnson, from the Quadram Institute Bioscience, said: "It is very difficult to draw firm conclusions from this survey.
"To put things in perspective, although the risk of dying during the seven-year survey period was about 15 percent higher among those who consume more of these foods, the background of the whole group was very low.
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"Fortunately, 98.6 percent of the participants were still alive at the end of the study."
Meanwhile, Professor Kevin McConway of the Open University said the new discoveries do not push us further to understand why junk food is so damaging to us.
He said: "It does not really tell us what causes what, it does not advance us further on what could be harmful in ultra-processed foods, and the size of the found association was still small."