Here’s another reason to eat fresh food: a new study published in The British Medical Journal showed that people who ate more highly processed foods such as chicken nuggets and instant noodles have a higher risk of cancer.
It’s long been known that eating fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains lowers the risk of cancer. Obesity also raises the risk of cancer, and junk food is full of calories.
But this study, conducted by a team in France and Brazil, suggests that ultra-processed foods carry an extra risk of cancer, above and beyond being nutritionally bad for you.
“Ultra-processed food intake was associated with higher overall cancer risk,” the team wrote in their report, published in the British Medical Journal’s online publication The BMJ.
“A 10 percent increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a significant increase of greater than 10 percent in risks of overall and breast cancer,” they added.
By ultra-processed they mean very, very processed.
The foods associated with extra cancer risk include:
-mass produced packaged breads and baked goods
-sodas and sweetened drinks
-instant noodles and soups
-sweet or savory packaged snacks
-industrialized confectionery and desserts
-meat balls, chicken and fish nuggets
-other reconstituted meat products transformed with addition of preservatives other than salt (for example, nitrites)
-frozen or shelf-stable ready meals
-Other food products made mostly or entirely from sugar, oils and fats
Less-processed foods such as cheese, pasta and canned vegetables did not raise cancer risks, Bernard Srour of the French national research organization Inserm and colleagues found.
The group used an ongoing survey of more than 100,000 French adults who regularly fill out questionnaires about their lives, including details on 3,300 different food items.
After five years, more than 2,200 cases of cancer were diagnosed in the group.