A new study by French researchers is drawing attention to the possible links between processed foods and cancer.
The study, which classified foods such as mass produced bread, chicken nuggets, and cakes as “ultra processed,” looked at 105,000 people, showed results which suggest that the more “ultra-processed” foods people eat, the greater their risk of cancer.
Diet, of course, is already known to affect the risk of cancer, with obesity being heavily linked to cancer rates. Processed meat has also shown an increase in rates of cancer.
Foods considered ultra processed include:
- Mass-produced packaged breads and buns
- Sweet or savory packaged snacks including crisps [chips]
- Chocolate bars and sweets
- Sodas and sweetened drinks
- Meatballs, poultry and fish nuggets
- Instant noodles and soups
- Frozen or shelf-life ready meals
- Foods made mostly or entirely from sugar, oils and fats
The study looked at mostly middle-aged women who were followed for an average of five years. The research team at Universte Sorbonne Paris Cite used food surveys on two days to determine what people were eating.
- On average, 18% of people’s diet was ultra-processed
- On average, there were 79 cancers per 10,000 people each year
- Upping the proportion of processed food by 10% would lead to nine extra cancers per 10,000 people per year
“These results suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades,” the researchers concluded.
The researchers also stated that the results need to be “confirmed by other large-scale” studies and that more research needed to be conducted to determine what could be behind the link discovered in the study.