Study finds memory loss and stroke risks associated with popular ultra-processed foods

Xantha Leatham
Daily Mail
A new study has found that consuming large amounts of crisps, biscuits and fizzy drinks could lead to a higher risk of memory problems.
A new study has found that consuming large amounts of crisps, biscuits and fizzy drinks could lead to a higher risk of memory problems. Credit: lev dolgachov/Syda Productions - stock.adobe.c

Consuming large quantities of crisps, biscuits and fizzy drinks could lead to a higher risk of memory problems, according to a study.

Experts have discovered there may be a link between a diet high in ultra-processed foods and the likelihood of cognitive decline and life-threatening medical conditions such as stroke.

These foods are usually high in added sugar, fat and salt – while being low in protein and fibre.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

They also include the likes of ice cream, burgers, ketchup, mayonnaise, packaged bread and flavoured cereal.

Unprocessed – or minimally processed – food, on the other hand, include meats such as simple cuts of beef, pork and chicken as well as fruit and vegetables.

A team from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston analysed 30,239 people aged 45 or older who were followed for an average of 11 years.

Participants filled out questionnaires about what they ate and drank, allowing the researchers to determine how much ultra-processed food each person ate on average per day.

That percentage was then calculated into four groups, ranging from the least processed foods to the most processed foods. By the end of the study, 768 people were diagnosed with cognitive impairment and 1,108 had a stroke.

Analysis revealed that a 10 per cent increase in the amount of ultra-processed foods eaten was linked to a 16 per cent higher risk of being diagnosed with cognitive impairment.

However, eating more unprocessed foods was linked with a 12 per cent lower risk of cognitive impairment.

Meanwhile, a greater intake of ultra-processed foods was linked to an 8 per cent increased risk of stroke, while a greater intake of less-processed foods was linked to a 9 per cent decreased risk of stroke.

Study author Dr William Kimberley said: “Our findings show that the degree of food processing plays an important role in overall brain health.”

‘More research is needed to confirm these results and to better understand which food or processing components contribute most to these effects.,” she said.

The findings were published in the journal Neurology.

A separate study earlier this year suggested that ultra-processed meat such as chicken nuggets and hot dogs can raise the risk of an early death by 13 per cent.

Researchers at Harvard University found a link between the consumption of mass-produced foods and the risk of dying early.

Comments

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 24-06-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 24 June 202424 June 2024

What a climate change. Albo takes punt on this once pro-nuclear Liberal to lead his renewable energy battle.