In a new study, it was discovered that consuming more than 20% of one’s daily caloric intake from ultra-processed meals could lead to cognitive impairment over time.
Convenience Foods Make You Unhealthy?
We’re all aware that convenience foods like premade soups, sauces, frozen pizza, and ready-to-eat meals, which make our life easier, are bad for our health. No, savoring our favorite foods like hot dogs, sausages, burgers, and french fries, as well as sugary treats like cookies and ice cream, isn’t a good way to lose weight.
As a result of this, we may be more prone to obesity-related illnesses like diabetes and heart disease as well as circulatory and cardiovascular disease and cancer. Their presence could possibly shorten ours.
The ability to absorb information and make decisions has been linked to executive functioning in the brain, according to a new study that shows eating more ultra-processed meals may contribute to cognitive decline overall.
As a matter of fact, those who ate the most ultra-processed foods had a 28 percent faster rate of global cognitive loss and a 25 percent faster rate of executive function decline, according to the study.
Rudy Tanzi, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and director of the genetics and aging research unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said, “The new results are quite compelling and emphasize the critical role of proper nutrition in maintaining and promoting brain health and reducing risk for brain diseases as we age.” He wasn’t a part of the research.
When it comes to ultra-processed foods or meals, “they are usually very high in sugar, salt, and fat, all of which promote systemic inflammation, perhaps the most major threat or hazard to healthy aging in the body and brain,” says Tanzi in his book “The Healing Self: A Revolutionary New Plan to Supercharge Your Immunity and Stay Well for Life,”
And because they’re quick and easy to prepare, they can also serve as a replacement for foods high in plant fiber, which is critical for keeping your gut flora in good health and helping to prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and other age-related brain disorders.
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Calories aren’t an issue:
Over 10,000 Brazilians were tracked for up to ten years in the study, which was presented at the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego on Monday. Moreover, half the people who participated in the study were women, White, and college-educated.
At the start and end of the study, participants had cognitive testing, which included immediate and delayed word recall, word identification, and verbal fluency. They were also questioned about their nutrition.
“In Brazil, 25-30% of total calorie consumption comes or reaches from ultra-processed meals. White bread and chocolate are staples in our diet. Many other Western countries are similar to Brazil in this regard, according to co-author Dr. Claudia Suemoto, an assistant professor of geriatrics at the University of So Paulo Medical School.”
U.S. citizens consume 58% of their caloric intake from ultra-processed foods, 58% of their caloric intake from British citizens, and 48% of their caloric intake from Canadians.
As defined by the study, “industrial formulations of food substances (fats, oils, sugar, and protein isolates) that include or retain little or no whole foods and frequently incorporate flavoring, coloring and other decorative or cosmetic ingredients” are considered “ultra-processed foods” in the study.
Natalia Gonçalves, a researcher in the pathology department at the University of So Paulo Medical School, said that people who consumed more than 20% of their daily calories from processed foods had a 28% faster decline in global cognition and a 25% faster decline in executive functioning compared to people who ate less than 20% of their daily calories from processed foods.
To put that in perspective, it takes about 400 calories to consume a small order of fries and a normal cheeseburger at Mcdonald’s, which has 530 calories in total.
Ultra-processed food eaters were more likely to be younger, female, White, had a higher level of education and wealth, and were less likely to smoke or drink currently, according to the study.
According to Suemoto, “A lot more people need to be educated on the importance of preparing their own meals at home. I’m sure of it.” “We complain that we don’t have time, yet it really doesn’t take that long.”
In addition to protecting your heart and brain from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, “it’s worth it,” she said. That’s the takeaway: Don’t buy too processed food.
National Library of Medicine(n.d)The Hidden Dangers of Fast and Processed Food(Available online)
WebMD(2005-2022) The Truth About Processed Food (Available online)
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