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Ultra-processed Foods Like Frozen Pizzas and Snacks Are Linked to Death at a Younger Age

According to a recent study, processed ready-to-eat items such as frozen pizzas, snacks, beans, and canned tuna that appear to save time can be harmful to our health and even take years from our life.

Brazilian researchers discovered that eating ultra-processed foods (UPFs) causes chronic and fatal illnesses that are preventable with a healthy diet.

The critical study on dietary choices published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine discovered that UPFs cause more than 10% of premature deaths.

Ready-to-eat or heated goods are created from components taken from foods or synthesized in laboratories. Soups, sauces, candies, drinks, and doughnuts are all examples of prepackaged goods. It is worth noting that higher-income and more developed countries consume more UFPs and may have poorer eating habits.

“Previous modeling studies have estimated the health and economic burden of critical ingredients such as sodium, sugar, and trans fats, as well as specific foods or drinks such as sugar-sweetened beverages,” said lead investigator Eduardo AF Nilson, ScD, of the Center for Epidemiological Research in Nutrition and Health, University of So Paulo, and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil, in a media release.

He went on to say that no study had previously calculated how these foods would affect early deaths.

“Knowing the mortality caused by these items and modeling how changes in dietary patterns can promote more effective food policies may reduce disease and premature deaths.”

The researchers gathered information from nationally representative dietary surveys. They calculated the intakes based on age and gender. According to data analyses, UPFs accounted for 13%-21% of all food consumption in Brazil in 2019.

In the same year, 541,260 adults aged 30 to 69 died of natural causes. Preventable and noncommunicable diseases accounted for 261,061 of these untimely deaths. UPFs are thought to have caused approximately 57,000 deaths, according to researchers.

The authors hypothesized that high-income countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada may be at greater risk due to their high-calorie intake.

According to the researchers, reducing UPF use by 10% to 50% might save 5,900 to 29,300 lives. “Consumption of UPFs is connected with several illness outcomes, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain malignancies, and other disorders,” Nilson concluded.

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