Processed food consumption is one of the challenges we are facing in the 21st century. People consume processed foods for different reasons. To some, it is for the time they can save when they grab a junk instead of cooking. 21st-century people are busy people, so anything that can save time is considered a ‘messiah’ of some sort.
To some other people, perhaps the scary group, it is for the comfort that comes with processed food. Junks are somehow easier to eat, not just for kids, but even for some adults, who wants a plate of vegetable salad when there is a well-made burger calling for attention?
Another shocking fact is that most people consuming ultra-processed food actually believe they are feeding on just processed food. Ultra-processed foods are the most dangerous form of junk. As it was stated in a recent CNN report, “Researchers discovered that people who eat more ultra-processed foods have a higher risk of cancer. Such foods are the ones with unrecognizable and unpronounceable words on the list of ingredients — anything from the candy that turns your tongue blue to healthier-sounding canned soups packed with artificial flavours, additives or emulsifiers. Most food is processed to some degree, but ultra-processed foods are typically much more calories, sodium- and sugar-packed”
Those who feed on processed food have a lot to gain and to lose health-wise, but it is worse with ultra-processed foods.
Research revealed, “Ultra-processed fats and sauces, sugary products and drinks were associated with an increased risk of overall cancer,”
“Ultra-processed sugary products were associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.”
“It was quite surprising, the strength of the results. They were really strongly associated, and we did many sensitive analysis and adjusted the findings for many co-factors, and still, the results here were quite concerning,” study co-author Mathilde Touvier said.
“What people eat is an expression of their lifestyle in general and may not be causatively linked to the risk of cancer. So it is necessary to rule out what is called confounding factors,” said Tom Sanders, scientific governor of the British Nutrition Foundation and an emeritus professor at King’s College London.
Whichever side of the fence you are on, it is obviously safe to begin to eat healthier meal although eating ultra-processed food once in a while doesn’t mean you will end up with cancer, as McCullough, a health expert who spoke with CNN put it, “This study doesn’t mean that people should think ‘if I eat this cracker, I’m going to get cancer.”
“The overriding message of this study was really to look at an overall diet pattern rather than a specific ingredient, and it supports a lot of what we already know.”
Folukemi is a trained journalist, a writer, a social media enthusiast. She believes being happy and fulfilled is not a fairy tale and she is dedicated to helping others find theirs.