What are heavily processed foods?
Some of the most popular foods that are highly processed are pre-packaged items that contain artificial flavors, food additives, preservatives, sugars, and coloring. This includes common food items such as chicken nuggets, frozen pizzas, and soft drinks.
These foods that are heavily processed have been connected to health issues such as high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, and certain cancers.
The new study brought new evidence forward showing that processed foods and type 2 diabetes are linked. For the people in the study who reported eating the largest amount of foods that are heavily processed, 166 of 100,000 developed diabetes. Among the group who ate the smallest amount, 116 of the 100,000 developed diabetes.
“We advise people to limit their consumption of ultra-processed foods and privilege unprocessed or minimally processed foods,” said Bernard Srour, head researcher and senior author Mathilde Touvier of Universite Paris 13, “in addition to a nutritionally healthy diet low in salt, sugar, fat and energy density; an optimal BMI; and healthy lifestyle behaviors.”
Over a span of at least six years, the French research team looked at data from over 104,000 adults who did not have diabetes. During the study, 821 of these adults were diagnosed with diabetes.
Although this study was not designed to figure out how these foods directly cause diabetes, the connection remained after considering the quality of the participants’ diets.
While there is the chance that some participants may have gone undiagnosed, the evidence still shows a connection with health problems.
The affordability, convenience, and portion sizes are all factors that push people towards foods that are ultra-processed, rather than fresh, healthy foods. Those who have the knowledge and resources to avoid those food items are better about avoiding them.