Ultra-processed foods have potentially adverse effects on an individual’s health as now in a study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention IRCCS Neuromedin Pozzilli (Italy) explores the health effects of a large portion of ultra-processed foods on people already suffering from cardiovascular disease.
The findings, published in the European Heart Journal, the European Journal of Cardiology, suggest a higher risk of a second heart attack (or stroke), this time fatal. Moreover, another observation emerges from this study: Even in people who generally follow a Mediterranean diet, but consume a lot of ultra-processed foods, the health risks are even higher.
The study followed 1,171 people who participated in the Molly-Sani Epidemiological Project for more than ten years. All of them already had cardiovascular disease at the time of their inclusion in the study. Regarding the participants’ diet, the researchers focused on consuming ultra-processed foods, made partially or entirely from materials not routinely used in cooking (hydroproteins, maltodextrin, hydrogenated fats, for example) and which generally contain various additives, Such as dyes, preservatives, antioxidants, anti-caking agents, flavor enhancers and sweeteners.
Read | The study says that eating processed foods can increase the risk of cancer
This category includes sugary and carbonated drinks, ready meals, spreads, and some seemingly “unexpected” products, such as breadcrumbs, breakfast cereals, crackers and fruit yogurt. These foods were ranked using the NOVA system, which ranks foods according to the degree of processing rather than their nutritional value.
“We’ve seen – explains Marialaura Bonaccio, a researcher in the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention and first author of the study – that people who consume large amounts of ultra-processed foods have a two-thirds increased risk of having a second heart attack or stroke, and that’s a time killer, compared to participants who ate these The risk of death from any cause is also 40 percent higher, the researchers said.
They added, “It is important to stress that the definition of ultra-processed foods is not related to nutritional content, but rather to the process used to prepare and store it. In other words, even if a food is nutritionally balanced, it may still be viewed as highly processed. It is clear that Sometimes it is not the only food eaten that makes the difference, but a diet that as a whole contains a lot of products coming from the supermarket shelves.A diet based on the consumption of fresh, products that are minimally processed should always be preferred, because the traditions of the sea The Mediterranean has been teaching us for centuries.”
“This study – says Licia Iacoviello – director of the department of epidemiology and prevention at Neuromed – conveys an important message: it is time to overcome the distinction between healthy and unhealthy food based solely on nutritional value. In other words, the researchers said that a person can follow a diet Mediterranean, perhaps rich in legumes or vegetables, a healthy diet we would say, but the simple definition of “Mediterranean” does not tell us “how these foods were prepared”.
“Fresh vegetables are not the same as pre-cooked and seasoned vegetables, and the same is true of many other foods. It is a factor that must increasingly be taken into account when advising citizens about proper nutrition. Our suggestion is that the level of industrial processing of food should be added to the labels on the front of the package, Which so far only provides nutritional information.”