A review of research involving almost 10 million people has found a direct association between eating too many ultra-processed foods — those breads, cereals, snacks and frozen meals that have been industrially manufactured with flavors and additives to make them more palatable — and more than 30 health conditions, including heart disease, anxiety and early death.

The facts

  • In recent years, dozens of studies have found that people who consume a lot of ultra-processed foods have higher rates of weight gainobesitycardiovascular diseasecancerdiabetes and other chronic diseases.
  • Now, a team of international researchers has undertaken a comprehensive review of the evidence on adverse health outcomes to date — examining 45 “pooled meta-analyses” from 14 review articles involving nearly 10 million people. All were published in the past three years, and none was funded by companies making ultra-processed food.
  • The researchers’ findings, published in the British medical journal BMJ, “show that diets high in ultra-processed food may be harmful to many body systems.”
  • They found “convincing evidence” that higher ultra-processed food intake was associated with about a […]
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