According to two European studies of more than 120,000 people, abusing "ultra-processed" foods would increase cardiovascular risk and the risk of death.
We already suspected their bad effects on health, it is now confirmed: industrial foods "ultra-processed" (soft drinks, ham, vegetable steak, cakes apéros etc.) increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. This is the conclusion of two studies, published simultaneously on Thursday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
The first was conducted by Insem on 100,000 participants in the NutriNet-Santé cohort for up to six years. The second by Spanish researchers on 20,000 volunteers. Both studies conclude that the abuse of "ultra-processed" foods increases cardiovascular risk - in particular coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases - as well as deaths from all causes.
Two large studies
Between 2009 and 2018, Inserm evaluated the consumption of 3,300 foods and beverages, classified according to their degree of industrial processing. The results show that a 10% increase in ultra-processed foods in our food is associated with a 12% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, it increases the risk of 13% for coronary heart disease and 11% for stroke and its transient form.
The Spanish study, led by Maira Bes-Rastrollo of the University of Navarre, shows that a very high consumption of ultra-processed foods (more than 4 servings per day) is associated with an increased risk (62%) of all-cause mortality. This figure was calculated in comparison to a consumption of less than 2 servings a day. Each additional daily portion of ultra-processed foods increased the risk of mortality by 18%.
Why are ultra-processed foods so bad?
These are not the first studies to point out ultra-processed foods, but they reinforce previous work linking highly processed foods to an increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and even cancer. But how to identify these ultra-processed dishes? Everything is a question of composition. Examples include breaded fish, blue cords, hams in trays, sodas, chips and even sausages or powdered sugar: the common point of all these foods is their industrial process of transformation. They have been reconstituted from dozens of products, so that we can not recognize their natural origin so much they have been modified.
Mathilde Touvier, Inserm research director, explains: "These foods have undergone several transformation processes, this can be hydrolysis, extrusion, hydrogenation.Most contain additives such as dyes, emulsifiers, For example, most hams on the market, including the butcher's, contain nitrite, which makes it an ultra-processed food. In addition to these chemicals, they often contain a lot of sugar, which can cause a spike in blood sugar.