Experts warned that eating fast food with soft drinks increases the risk of premature death. Scientists are of the opinion that super-processed foods are associated with health hazards.
What are the super-processed foods?
Foods that undergo various industrial processing procedure and usually have long lists of ingredients are termed as super-processed. These include burgers, ice creams, most of the snacks, soft drinks, sugary cereals, all other foods that contain a host of additives either to enhance their shelf life or taste.
It can be safely said that a product with more than five added components may be considered super-manufactured, says Maria Pace-Rastrollo, of the University of Navarra, Spain.
Treated fish and meat are highly processed and often contain high levels of sugar, fat or added salt, but contain few vitamins and fiber.
What do studies say?
Navarra University researchers in Spain studied the case of 19899 people between the ages of 20 and 91 over a course of 14 years. Scientists closely observed the food intake of these people and evaluated their diet every two years.
Results: There were 335 deaths during the duration of the study. For every 10 deaths among those who ate low-processed food, there were 16 deaths among those who ate super-processed foods (more than four meals a day).
In a different study conducted by the University of Paris, researchers analyzed data from 105 to 159 people over the age of 18 for an average of five years. The researchers found increasing the amount of super-processed food intake by 10% resulted in the risk of developing cardiovascular problems by 12 %.
The increased global consumption of super-processed foods instead of low-processed foods, could be a major cause of cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years, said researcher Matilda Tavier of the University of Paris.
Previous studies have linked highly processed foods to cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, and irritable bowel syndrome.
What is the advice?
The recommendation from the scientists is as expected, eat less of super-processed foods. And because the term ‘super-processed foods’ itself is new, so the advice is familiar.
We really recommend people to adopt a Mediterranean diet, which includes an abundance of unprocessed or processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes and lentils, says Victoria Taylor, a nutritionist at the British Heart Foundation.
The researchers say higher taxes on these dangerous foods should be imposed and companies banned from advertising. And encourage people to dispense with fresh fruits and vegetables.