The diet linked to cancer, heart disease and 30 other conditions

It’s no surprise that a steady diet of ultra-processed foods is a recipe for disaster.

There’s SO much research proving that these foods cause cancer and heart disease and that they fuel metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes.

But despite the evidence, many of us still haven’t changed our eating habits.

In fact, 60 to 90 percent of the standard American diet consists of these highly processed foods.

Their growing link to disease means it’s time to get serious about what we eat…

Digging for the truth about ultra-processed foods

A meta-analysis is a statistical procedure that integrates the results of several independent studies. It aims to come up with even more precise results that can then be applied to real-life decisions.

An international group of researchers recently conducted a review of 45 meta-analyses that showed a connection between ultra-processed foods and adverse health outcomes.

In other words, their study drilled down even deeper and found even more reasons to stop eating these “fake foods.”

What did they find?

An outrageous association between not only ultra-processed foods and all causes of mortality — but between these foods and 30 health conditions, including:

They reported a 50% increased risk of deaths related to cardiovascular disease, a 12% higher risk of type 2 diabetes, and a 48% to 53% higher risk of anxiety and mental disorders.

The researchers believe their findings suggest that ultra-processed foods could be harmful to numerous body systems, highlighting the need for urgent action to reduce our consumption.

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How to avoid ultra-processed foods

First, it’s important to understand exactly which foods fall into this category.

The United Nations uses the NOVA food classification system, which divides foods into four groups:

  • Unprocessed or minimally processed – dried, freeze-dried roasted or boiled food in its original state
  • Processed culinary ingredients – for example, sugar from sugar cane, salt from sea water or maple syrup from trees
  • Processed foods – canned fruit in sugar, salt-added canned vegetables or smoked meats
  • Ultraprocessed foods – foods that go through so much processing that they bear little resemblance to real food. They usually have unrecognizable ingredients on their labels and include foods like cereals, chicken nuggets, frozen pizza, soda, chips, sweet or salty snacks, packaged baked goods, microwaveable frozen meals and instant soups and sauces.

If you’re an ultra-processed food “junkie,” here are 7 ways to develop changes to your diet that will last.

  1. Start slowly. If you eat a lot of highly processed foods, try substituting one or two things per day. Fruit for chips. Carrots and dip for cookies. Go for small wins.
  1. Drink more water. This is important for so many reasons! Not only will it fill you up and make you less likely to eat snacks, it will keep you hydrated and start flushing some of the toxins from your system.
  2. Choose whole grains. Instead of white rice, try brown. Whole wheat bread is a hearty, tasty substitute for white.
  3. Limit or avoid processed meats. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified processed meat as a definite carcinogen. These include bacon, sandwich meat, hot dogs and sausage.
  4. Try homemade. Granola, salad dressing, even potato chips made in your own kitchen are often more delicious than those loaded with chemicals.
  5. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. This one is pretty simple. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, it’s not something you should be eating.
  6. Plan ahead. When you start your clean eating effort, you may find you’re still reaching for tasty, unhealthy snacks, especially when you’re in a hurry.
    Take a weekend or a day to stock up on healthy quick snacks: cut veggies and hummus, fruit, yogurt, homemade chips or granola.

An easy way to hit most of these marks is to choose a healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet. There are a few variations of the diet, depending on other health goals. For instance, the Green Mediterranean has been found not only to reduce disease risk but double fat loss.

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Ultra-processed foods linked to heart disease, cancer, and 30 other health conditions — Medical News Today

Ultra-processed food exposure and adverse health outcomes: umbrella review of epidemiological meta-analyses — BMJ

Meta-analysis in medical research — Hippokratia

Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.