Study: Convenience foods have an inconvenient downside .

Internal medicine

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New research suggests that the more ultra-processed foods people eat, the higher their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Ultraprocessed foods — including chips, instant noodles, breakfast cereals, chicken nuggets and other industrially processed, ready-to-eat or microwaveable fare — are designed for tastiness and long shelf-life. They typically contain emulsifiers, thickening agents, food colorings and other additives of no nutritive value.

In earlier studies, such foods have been linked to an increased risk for cancer, depression and cardiovascular disease, and people who eat a lot of them have been found to consume more calories per day than people who chose less processed foods.

The new study, "Ultraprocessed Food Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Among Participants of the NutriNet-Santé Prospective Cohort" appeared Dec. 16 in JAMA Internal Medicine. Subjects included 104,707 men and women, average age 43 and generally healthy at the start. All filled out three well-validated, 24-hour food questionnaires.

Overall, more than 17% of their food by weight was ultra-processed.

They were followed for an average of six years, and during that period, there were 821 cases of Type 2 diabetes diagnosed among them.

After controlling for age, sex, family history of diabetes, and many dietary and behavioral factors, researchers found that for each absolute increase of 10% in the weight of ultraprocessed food in the diet, the risk for diabetes increased by 13%. For every 100-gram (3.5-ounce) increase in the weight of ultraprocessed food consumed, the risk for diabetes increased by 5%.

"This is only one study that doesn't prove causality," said the senior author, Mathilde Touvier, a researcher at Inserm, the French public health institute. "But the accumulation of evidence suggests the precautionary principle: Try to avoid ultra-processed food as much as possible."

Style on 01/13/2020

Print Headline: Study links diabetes, ultraprocessed foods

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