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32 Physical and Mental Health Problems of Consuming Ultra-processed Foods

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By Abi Gibson - - 5 Mins Read
A large man eating junk food
EAting junk food | Shutterstock

Recent research has just revealed that consuming ultra-processed foods is linked to the risk of  32 health side effects.

Ultra-processed foods such as Cereals, canned sausages, bread, chips, and fast foods usually contain preservatives, sweeteners, colorings, and chemicals that are not greatly beneficial to human physical and mental health.

The research was carried out using questionnaires on diet histories from over 9 million people, and the results confirmed that the intake of ultra-processed foods (UPF) is directly associated with the risk of death from Cardiovascular diseases, anxiety disorder, and diabetes.

The dangers of ultra-processed foods could also include the risk of heart disease by 40-66 percent,  obesity, sleeping problems, a 22 percent risk of depression, and a 22 percent higher risk of death from undiscovered diseases.

Ultra-processed foods (UPF) undergo industrial processes that involve passing from one machine to another. These processes include hydrolysis, which enhances food flavors, and hydrogenation, which produces semi-solid oils.

UPF are also manipulated with chemical ingredients such as colors, artificial flavors, and emulsifiers that make them look appealing and delicious, and increase their shelf life.

Almost 60 percent of calories consumed by US adults are derived from ultra-processed foods, and the same goes for kids and young adults whose diets consist of 70 percent ultra-processed foods.

Continuous studies have revealed that the higher the consumption of UPF, the higher the health effects a person is prone to, as UPFs are linked to several health effects that medical experts and scientists are just starting to understand.

Fruit yogurt, canned sausage, canned sweet corn, instant soup, crisps, burgers, and pizzas are Ultra-processed food examples that could trigger health conditions if overly consumed.

Dangers of Ultra-Processed Foods 

Ultra-processed foods are classified under Nova foods and are mostly ready-to-eat. They are formula-enriched substances that are dangerous to health because they contain more calories than balanced nutrients.

Analysis has revealed that consumption of UPF substances increases daily across countries and regions, most especially in low-income countries like Mexico and Columbia.

The analysis further identified the health dangers of Ultra-processed foods, such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, mental disorders, heart disease, and general weakness. However, research says that the link between UPF intake and gastrointestinal health, asthma, and cardiometabolic risk factors is limited.