Ultra-processed foods can lead to a second heart attack or stroke


A food must contain minimum amounts of whole food ingredients and five or more – often many more – inexpensive, industrially produced ingredients to be considered UPF.

Scientists have long warned against overuse of UPF, linking them to an array of health problems. Recent Trusted Source studies have indicated that they can lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality.

A new study finds that consuming UPF increases the risk of a second heart attack or stroke (more likely to be fatal) for people who already have CVD.

“We found,” says the study’s first author, Dr. Marialaura Bonaccio, “people with higher consumption of ultra-processed foods have a two-thirds increased risk of a second heart attack or heart attack. stroke, this time fatal, compared to participants. eat these foods less frequently. The likelihood of dying from any cause is also 40% higher.

Disturbingly, UPF consumption is on the rise, especially in the United States, where nearly 60% of a person’s average diet is likely to consist of highly processed foods.

IRCCS Neuromed’s Department of Epidemiology and Prevention in Pozzilli, Italy, conducted the study, which appears in European Heart Journal.

Recognize ultra-processed foods

Dr Bonaccio told Medical News Today: “It is important to stress that the definition of ultra-processed foods is not related to nutritional content, but rather to the process used for its preparation and storage. In other words, even if a food is nutritionally balanced, it can still be considered ultra-processed. “

Cardiology dietician Michelle Routhenstein, MS RD CDE CDN, who was not in the study, told MNT:

“I find a lot of people are hyper focused on calories, so when they read the food label, if the nutrition facts panel meets what they rate it for, they can easily dismiss the processing element from it. So I like to draw the consumer’s attention to read the list of ingredients first.

Routhenstein adds, “When looking at food labels, it can be helpful to understand the NOVA rating scale at a glance. “

The NOVA classification system assigns foods to one of four categories based on the amount of processing they involve:

Group 1 – Unprocessed or minimally processed foods. These are either unprocessed foods or foods that have undergone minimal processing, such as cooking or pasteurization.

Group 2 – Processed culinary ingredients. These come from nature or from Group 1 foods. They include olive oil, salt, maple syrup, and other items that people can use to prepare Group 1 foods.

Group 3 – Processed foods. These are foods created from items in Groups 1 and 2, such as bread and cheese.

Group 4 – Ultra-processed food and drink products. Manufacturers have formulated these food products to be tasty, inexpensive to buy, and easy to prepare. They include little or no Group 1 products and often contain fats, salt, preservatives, stabilizers, food colors, artificial flavors and refined grains.

Open Food Facts summarizes the foods in Group 4: “non-alcoholic beverages, packaged sweet or savory snacks, reconstituted meat products and pre-prepared frozen meals”.

How FUP May Affect Heart Health

Dr Bonaccio shared with the MNT some hypotheses regarding the relationship between UPF and the increased risk of CVD-related death: “Here we saw that only a small part of the excess risk of death is attributable to the low nutritional content of these UPFs, and this leads [us] to believe that other non-nutritional factors of FUP are potentially responsible for their adverse health effects.

“They’re often packaged in materials that are a source of phthalates and bisphenols, which are multifunctional synthetic chemicals used to make plastics flexible and durable.” Dr Bonaccio added that “FUPs are also a major source of food additives and Trusted Source neoformed compounds which have demonstrated adverse effects on human health in experimental studies and some epidemiological studies”.

“Thus,” concluded Dr. Bonaccio, “it appears that UPF does not exert specific cardiovascular effects but accelerates the occurrence of side events in patients with pre-existing CVD.”

Source: Medicalnewstoday.com.


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