Ultraprocessed foods linked to developing and dying from cancer: Study
Eating more ultraprocessed foods raises the risk of developing and dying from cancer, especially ovarian cancer, according to a new study of over 197,000 people in Britain.
Overly processed foods include prepackaged soups, sauces, frozen pizza and ready-to-eat meals, as well as hot dogs, sausages, french fries, sodas, store-bought cookies, cakes, candies, doughnuts, ice cream and many more.
“Ultra-processed foods are produced with industrially derived ingredients and often use food additives to adjust colour, flavour, consistency, texture, or extend shelf life,” said first author Dr. Kiara Chang, a National Institute for Health and Care Research fellow at Imperial College London’s School of Public Health, in a statement.
“Our bodies may not react the same way to these ultra-processed ingredients and additives as they do to fresh and nutritious minimally processed foods,” Chang said.
The study, published Tuesday in the journal eClinicalMedicine, looked at the association between eating ultraprocessed foods and 34 different types of cancer over a 10-year period.
The amount of ultraprocessed foods consumed by people in the study ranged from a low of 9.1% to a high of 41.4% of their diet, the study found.
Eating patterns were then compared with medical records that listed both diagnoses and deaths from cancer.
Each 10% increase in ultraprocessed food consumption was associated with a 2% increase in developing any cancer, and a 19% increased risk for being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, according to a statement issued by Imperial College London.
Deaths from cancers also increased, the study found. For each additional 10% increase in ultraprocessed food consumption, the risk of dying from any cancer increased by 6%, while the risk of dying from ovarian cancer rose by 30%, according to the statement.
“These associations persisted after adjustment for a range of socio-demographic, smoking status, physical activity, and key dietary factors,” the authors wrote.
his latest research is not the first to show an association between a high intake of ultraprocessed foods and cancer.
A 2022 study examined the diets of over 200,000 men and women in the United States for up to 28 years and found a link between ultraprocessed foods and colorectal cancer — the third most diagnosed cancer in the United States.