Are you eating your way to cancer?

Updated:4 months ago IST

New Delhi, Feb 16 (ANI): You may want to cut down on the intake of highly processed (ultra-processed) food as a recent study has suggested a possible link between it and cancer. Further exploration is needed, but these results suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods ‘may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades,’ warned the researchers. Ultra-processed foods include packaged baked goods and snacks, fizzy drinks, sugary cereals, ready meals and reconstituted meat products - often containing high levels of sugar, fat, and salt, but lacking in vitamins and fibre. They are thought to account for up to 50% of total daily energy intake in several developed countries. A team of researchers based in France and Brazil evaluated potential associations between ultra-processed food intake and risk of overall cancer, as well as that of breast, prostate, and bowel (colorectal) cancers. Their findings are based on 104,980 healthy French adults (22% men; 78% women) with an average age of 43 years who completed at least two 24-hour online dietary questionnaires, designed to measure usual intake of 3,300 different food items (NutriNet-Sante cohort study). Foods were grouped according to degree of processing and cases of cancer were identified from participants' declarations validated by medical records and national databases over an average of five years. Several well known risk factors for cancer, such as age, sex, educational level, family history of cancer, smoking status and physical activity levels, were taken into account. The results showed that a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with increases of 12% in the risk of overall cancer and 11% in the risk of breast cancer. No significant association was found for prostate and colorectal cancers.

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