This Is The Newly Discovered Danger Of Eating Highly Processed
Nutrition

This Is The Newly Discovered Danger Of Eating Highly Processed Foods

Ultra-processed foods, already related to problems such as obesity, hypertension or diabetes, also cause intestinal disease.

Crab sticks, made from reconstituted fish.

Among ultra-processed foods are packaged bakery products and snacks, carbonated drinks, sugary cereals, prepared dishes with food additives, and reconstituted meat and fish products, which often contain high levels of added sugar, fat, and salt, but lack vitamins and fiber.

To all the dangers that its abuse supposes for health (obesity, hypertension, diabetes, etc), now add a new one. Apparently, the consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with an increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a study conducted by an international team of scientists published by The BMJ.

Inflammatory bowel disease is more common in industrialized countries and Dietary factors are thought to play a role., but so far the data linking the intake of ultra-processed foods with IBD is limited.

To delve into this question, an international team of researchers used detailed dietary information from 116,087 adults aged 35-70 living in 21 low-, middle-, and high-income countries and that they participated in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study, from the United States, which examines the impact of social influences on chronic diseases in different countries around the world.

Participants were enrolled in the study between 2003 and 2016 and were evaluated at least every three years. During a mean follow-up of 9.7 years, new IBD diagnoses were recorded, including Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. During this time, 467 participants developed IBD (90 with Crohn’s disease and 377 with ulcerative colitis).

After accounting for other potentially influential factors, the researchers found that higher consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with an increased risk of IBD.

For example, compared to less than one serving of ultra-processed foods a day, they found an 82% increased risk of IBD among those who ate five or more servings a day, and a 67% increased risk between 1 and 4 servings a day.

The different subgroups of ultra-processed foods, including soft drinks, refined sugary foods, salty snacks, and processed meat were associated with an increased risk of IBD. In contrast, intake of white meat, red meat, dairy products, starch, and fruit, vegetables, and legumes (such as peas, beans, and lentils) were not associated with IBD.

The results were consistent for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and were similar after further analysis for IBD risk by age and region, suggesting that the results are robust.

This is an observational study, so causality cannot be established. Furthermore, the results were based on self-reported diagnoses and did not take into account changes in diet over time. However, the researchers state that their results “support the hypothesis that the intake of ultra-processed foods could be an environmental factor that increases the risk of IBD.

What white meat, unprocessed red meat, dairy, starch, and fruit, vegetables, and legumes were not associated with the development of IBD, this study suggests that it may not be the foods themselves that confer this risk, but the way they are processed or ultra-processed, they explain.

“Further studies are needed to identify possible specific factors among processed foods that could be responsible for the associations observed in our study,” they conclude.