Eating ultra-processed foods can increase your risk of developing cancer

Ultra-processed foods have also had a bad reputation, and for a reason! Eating these foods can increase your risk of developing cancer and other diseases.
tips to reduce ultra processed foods in your diet
Eating ultra-processed foods can increase your risk of developing cancer. Image courtesy: Adobe Stiock
Arushi Bidhuri Updated: 13 Feb 2023, 01:36 pm IST
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Ultra-processed food has always had a bad reputation in the world of nutrition. Endless studies talk about the harmful effects of eating highly processed food. If you’re not already familiar, frizzy drinks, packaged goods like bread, ready-to-eat cereals, etc., all classify as ultra-processed food. These foods are generally high in salt, fat, and sugar and contain artificial additives that can lead to several health problems like heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. A new study has also found that eating highly processed foods may put you at a greater risk of developing cancer.

Eating ultra-processed food may lead to cancer

The study published in the eClinicalMedicine found that consuming too many ultra-processed foods can increase your risk of developing obesity and type-2 diabetes in adults. Since ultra-processed foods are inexpensive with attractive packaging, people tend to consume more of these foods. Bread, biscuits, breakfast cereals, carbonated drinks, instant soups, fruit-flavoured yogurts, ham, sausages, and some alcoholic drinks are examples of ultra-processed food.

carbonated drinks
Quit drinking carbonated drinks to reduce cancer risk. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The harmful effects of ultra-processed foods are well-known, with the World Health Organisation and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation restricting the consumption of ultra-processed foods, the study reports.

Other side effects of ultra-processed food

Ultra-processed foods are often inexpensive and taste good, which is why they are so popular among young people. However, they contain harmful ingredients such as added sugar, salt, and saturated fats. They are also low in dietary fiber and vitamins, essential to promote overall health.

Also Read: Eating ultra-processed food could give you a bowel disorder, finds study

Several studies have shown that regular consumption of foods high in sugar can lead to obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type-2 diabetes. Refined carbs in ultra-processed foods can lead to a spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels.

A study published in the British Medical Journal found that eating 10 percent more ultra-processed foods increases your risk of developing coronary artery disease, cardiovascular disease, and cerebrovascular disorders (diseases that affect blood flow in the brain). Another study published in the same journal found that consuming too many highly-processed foods can up your risk of gaining weight and even lead to mortality.

What can you do to reduce the risk?

Whether canned, frozen, or packaged, processed food is loaded with sugar, salt, and additives, which can be harmful to your overall health. The best way to reduce the risk of developing unwanted diseases is to replace unprocessed foods with healthy alternatives. While it may seem difficult at first, regular consumption of healthy alternatives can help you stay on track with healthy eating habits.

Also Read: Replace your unhealthy eating habits with these 5 healthy choices

healthy eating habits
Switch to healthy eating habits to protect yourself from cancer. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Keep healthy snacks nearby to binge on when you feel hungry in between meals.
  • Include more whole grains in your diet as they are high in fiber, which has also been shown to be good to reduce cancer risk.
  • Don’t forget to stay hydrated. We tend to undermine the importance of drinking water. Make sure that you drink at least 10-12 glasses of water every day.
  • Include more vegetables and fruits in your diet to increase your nutrient intake.
  • Replace your breakfast cereal with oatmeal. Try replacing other processed foods with healthy nuts, salads, etc.

Now you know how harmful processed foods can be! So, it is time to quit unhealthy eating habits and switch to healthy alternatives for the sake of your health.

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About the Author

Arushi Bidhuri is a journalist with 7 years of experience in writing, editing, and conceptualizing story ideas across different genres, including health and wellness, lifestyle, politics, beauty, fashion, and more. Arushi has a strong connection in the industry that helps her write concise and original stories as she believes in working towards writing pieces that can enlighten people. ...Read More

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