New study reveals that Americans are addicted to processed foods that could cause cancer KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt


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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

New study reveals that Americans are addicted to processed foods that could cause cancer

New research from the Imperial College’s School of Public Health shows that “ultra-processed foods” are linked to an increased risk of developing cancer.

The London researchers classified ultra-processed foods as products like carbonated drinks, cereals, mass-produced and packaged bread and pre-packaged meals. The study authors noted that such foods are typically not ingredients used in household cooking but instead are made up of “derived ingredients,” such as high fructose corn syrup or modified starch.

They discovered that those who consumed convenience food items were potentially at a higher risk of developing life-threatening cancers after studying 200,000 middle-aged participants over the course of a decade.

The UK study, which was published in eClinicalMedicine, concluded that ovarian and brain cancers were more likely to develop in people who ate the food, while ovarian and breast cancers were more likely to kill them.

As participants increased their junk food diet by 10%, there was a 2% increased risk of developing cancer, the authors found, while also taking into account lifestyle behaviors including smoking, diets and exercise, as well as socioeconomic class and body mass index.

Eating a lot of highly processed food can have several negative health effects that increase a person’s risk of serious health issues like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes

The new results came from the latest National Poll on Healthy Aging conducted by the University of Michigan

The questionnaire asked respondents to report experiencing at least two of a list of 11 indicators of food addiction in addition to two more questions to measure the extent to which their lives have been impaired by their addiction.

Men and women who considered themselves to already be in poor physical shape were more than twice as likely to exhibit signs of addiction – 32 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, addiction to junk food was also seen in 45 percent of women who say their mental health is fair or poor, and 23 percent of men who say the same.

That is three times as high as the percentages among those who say their mental health is excellent, very good, or good.

Addiction was also seen in more than half of women who reported feelings of isolation while 26 percent of men said the same.

UM psychologist Dr Ashley Gearhardt said: ‘The word addiction may seem strong when it comes to food, but research has shown that our brains respond as strongly to highly processed foods, especially those highest in sugar, simple starches, and fat, as they do to tobacco, alcohol and other addictive substances.’

Dr Gearhardt, with the help of scientists at Yale University, co-developed the questionnaire used in the study called the Yale Food Addiction Scale.

‘Just as with smoking or drinking, we need to identify and reach out to those who have entered unhealthy patterns of use and support them in developing a healthier relationship with food,’ she added.

Intense cravings was the most common symptom with almost one in four saying that at least once a week they had a an urge to eat a piece of junk food so strong that they could not think of anything else. And 19 percent said that they had tried and failed at least twice a week to cut down on those foods or eliminate them altogether.

A proclivity for highly processed foods greatly increases a person's risk of developing obesity, which has become a major public health issue in America. 

The number of Americans who are obese has been surging for decades, with four in 10 now medically too fat. 

Poll director Dr Jeffrey Kullgren, an associate professor of internal medicine at Michigan Medicine, said: ‘Clinicians need a better understanding of how food addiction and problematic eating intertwines with their patients’ physical and mental health, including chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.’

‘We need to understand that cravings and behaviors around food are rooted in brain chemistry and heredity, and that some people may need additional help just as they would to quit smoking or drinking.’

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