Brazilian scientists discovered that eating ultra-processed foods (UPFs) increases the risk of developing preventable chronic and fatal illnesses, which can lead to early death.
Over 10% of early deaths, according to a significant study on dietary choices that was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, are caused by UPFs.
Ingredients that have been extracted from food or created in laboratories go into the ready-to-eat or warm products. Soups, sauces, candies, drinks, and doughnuts are more prepackaged goods. It is crucial to remember that countries with higher incomes and more developed economies tend to consume more UFPs and may also have worse eating habits.
According to lead researcher Eduardo AF Nilson, ScD, of the Center for Epidemiological Research in Nutrition and Health at the University of So Paulo and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil, “Previous modelling studies have estimated the health and economic burden of critical ingredients, such as sodium, sugar, and trans fats, and specific foods or drinks, such as sugar-sweetened beverages.”
He further stated that no research had previously evaluated the potential influence of these foods on early deaths.
Knowing the mortality linked to consuming certain foods and simulating how dietary modifications can promote more successful food policies may help avoid disease and untimely deaths.
Data were gathered by the authors through dietary surveys that were nationally representative. They calculated the intakes based on gender and age. According to statistical estimates, 13% to 11% of all food consumed in Brazil in 2019 was consumed through UPFs.
541,260 adults between the ages of 30 and 69 passed away before their time in the same year. Out of this, non-communicable diseases were the cause of 261,061 premature deaths. Researchers estimate that UPFs were responsible for close to 57,000 deaths.
According to authors’ theories, high-income nations like the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada may be more at risk due to their high calorie intake.
Researchers noted that a 10% to 50% decrease in UPF use could prevent 5,900 to 29,300 deaths.
The conclusion of Nilson’s study was that “consumption of UPFs is connected with numerous illness outcomes, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, several malignancies, and other diseases, and it represents a significant cause of preventable and untimely deaths among Brazilian adults.” Researchers noted that a 10% to 50% decrease in UPF use could prevent 5,900 to 29,300 deaths.