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Many premature deaths from ultra-processed foods – healing practice



Effect of poor diet on life expectancy

The growing consumption in many countries of what is known as ultra-processed foods is associated with a significantly increased risk of dying prematurely from preventable causes. Overall, the effects on the life expectancy of the population appear extremely worrying.

In a recent study involving experts from University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, the effects of the consumption of ultra-processed foods on life expectancy and the risk of premature death have been studied. The results were published in the English-language journal “American Journal of Preventive Medicine(AJPM) published.

Studied consumption of ultra-processed foods

Examples of ultra-processed foods include packaged soups, sauces, frozen pizzas, ready meals, hot dogs, sausages, sodas, ice cream, as well as cookies, cakes, candies and donuts that can be purchased in supermarkets.

In the new study, nationally representative surveys on the topic of nutrition were assessed to assess the extent to which the Basic intake of ultra-processed foods by sex and in different age groups, according to the research team.

Statistical analyzes were then used to estimate the proportion of total number of deaths due to the consumption of ultra-processed foods.

The researchers also used the data to try to estimate what the impact would be if consumption of ultra-processed foods were reduced by 10, 20 or 50%.

The proportion of ultra-processed foods over the period examined was shown to be between 13 and 21 percent of total food intake in Brazil. This applied to all age groups and genders, experts report.

According to the team, 541,260 adults between the ages of 30 and 69 died prematurely in Brazil in 2019 alone. Of these deaths, 261,061 were from preventable non-communicable diseases.

57,000 deaths from ultra-processed foods

The model used in the study showed that approximately 57,000 preventable deaths were due to the consumption of ultra-processed foods.

This figure accounted for 10.5% of all premature deaths and 21.8% of all deaths from preventable non-communicable diseases in adults aged 30 to 69, the team reports.

Effects could be worse in Western countries

Because Brazil generally eats less ultra-processed foods than many Western countries, experts believe the impact in high-income countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia even higher could fail.

But also in Brazil, according to Dr. Nilson’s consumption of ultra-processed foods has gradually pushed back the consumption of traditional whole foods like rice and beans over time.

However, according to experts, through various public health interventions and measures, it would be possible to reduce the consumption of ultra-processed foods, which would be accompanied by healthier food choices.

According to the team, reducing the consumption of ultra-processed foods by 10 to 50 percent in Brazil could prevent an estimated 5,900 to 29,300 of the premature deaths that occur there each year.

Previous research has mostly referred to individual ingredients

“Previous modeling studies have estimated the health and economic burden of critical ingredients such as sodium, sugar and trans fats, as well as specific foods or beverages such as sugary drinks,” explains the head of the study. ‘study. Eduardo AF Nilson in a Press release.

So far, however, no studies have assessed the potential impact of ultra-processed foods on premature death. Newly acquired knowledge can now help prevent many illnesses and premature deaths.

Dangerous diseases due to poor diet

The consumption of ultra-processed foods is linked to many diseases, such as obesity, cardiovascular illnessesdiabetes and some forms of cancer.

And if you reduced consumption of ultra-processed foods to where it was ten years ago, there would be a reduction in associated premature deaths by 21% connected, according to Nilson.

The new study provides a tool to estimate deaths attributed to ultra-processed foods. This could help countries that health burdens through appropriate foods, while helping to develop effective options to promote a healthier food environment.

The doctor adds that the study clearly shows how urgent it is political measures necessary to help limit the consumption of ultra-processed foods. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


  • Eduardo AF Nilson, Gerson Ferrari, Maria Laura C Louzada, Renata B Levy, Carlos A Monteiro, et al. : Premature Deaths Attributed to Consumption of Ultra-Processed Foods in Brazil; in: American Journal of Preventive Medicine (published 07.11.2022), AJPM
  • Elsevier: Ultra-processed foods linked to premature death (published 11/07/2022), Elsevier

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.

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