You don’t need me to tell you JUNK food isn’t good for you. After all, it’s right there in the name.
So it’s no surprise that a steady diet of processed foods could cause you to pack on the pounds.
But new research has revealed a junk-food addiction can do FAR worse than just make you fat. Ultraprocessed foods could send your risk of dying early to shoot up by a shocking 14 percent.
And it gets worse. It turns out, that first 14 percent may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Because for every extra 10 percent increase in the amount of ultraprocessed foods you eat, your death risk could rise ANOTHER 14 percent.
Which means your own risk for an early death could be MUCH higher than the average Joe’s.
Ultraprocessed foods and additives are a deadly combo
It’s not just because of the junk fats and added sugars alone.
The researchers say something else likely shoulders a lot of the blame. And that’s additives.
First, there’s the stuff we think of as additives. Things like preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial colorings.
And then there are the unintentional additives. Which would be the chemicals that seep into our food from the processing and packaging.
Over time, the poor nutritional value of ultraprocessed foods combined with additives can really take their toll on your health.
And they can lead to chronic diseases such as heart failure and cancer, driving you towards an early grave.
So what exactly IS an ultraprocessed food?
According to the Nova food classification system, it basically boils down to products which are “formulated from industrial ingredients and contain little or no intact foods.”
In other words, a lot of snacks, desserts, and ready-to-eat or -heat meals.
Junk food sends early death skyrocketing
Other studies have linked the junk-filled Western diet to metabolic issues, brain problems, and general health complications.
And earlier research by the same team revealed an association between ultraprocessed foods and a higher risk of cancer.
For the new study, the researchers recruited over 44,500 volunteers. All the participants were around 57 when the research began. And most were tracked for more than seven years.
Using questionnaires, the researchers gathered details about each volunteer’s…
- typical diet
- usual amount of physical activity
- general lifestyle
- height, weight, and body measurements
- demographics and socio-economic status
The researchers then compared the amount of ultraprocessed foods a person ate to their risk of dying from any cause. And that’s when a clear pattern emerged.
For each 10 percent increase in the amount of junk food a volunteer ate, there was a corresponding 14 percent jump in their risk of dying.
The team points to several things that could be behind the raised risk…
- Acrylamide: This “probable carcinogen” is produced when potatoes or grains are cooked at high temperatures
- Emulsifiers: There’s evidence these detergent-like additives could disturb your gut flora and trigger low-grade inflammation
- Artificial sweeteners: Studies have found these fake sugars may mess with your metabolism and microbiome leading to inflammation
- BPA: This creepy chemical which is often used in food packaging is a suspected endocrine disruptor and is associated with everything from cancer to high blood pressure
If you’re a junk food fanatic, you can easily slash your risk of an untimely death. Just cut way back on the number of ultraprocessed foods in your diet.
Opt for fresh, whole foods you prepare yourself instead. They taste FAR better. And they could help add years to your life.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
Follow Alice and HealthierTalk on Twitter and Facebook.