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Health And Medical

Diets Heavy in ‘Ultra-Processed’ Foods CAN HARM the mind

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Eating plenty of ultra-processed foods may dramatically boost your risk for dementia, in accordance with a fresh study by researchers in China.

Ultra-processed foods are saturated in sugar, fat and salt, but lower in protein and fiber. Sodas, salty and sugary snacks and desserts, ice cream, sausage, deep-fried chicken, flavored yogurt, ketchup, mayonnaise, packaged bread and flavored cereals are examples.

Replacing these food types with healthier alternatives may lower the chances for dementia by 19%, the analysis found.

“These results imply that it is very important inform consumers about these associations, implement actions targeting product reformulation, and communicate to limit the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the dietary plan and [instead] promote the intake of unprocessed or minimally processed food items like more fresh vegetables and fruits instead,” said lead researcher Huiping Li, from the institution of Public Health at Tianjin Medical University.

This study doesn’t prove that eating ultra-processed foods escalates the threat of dementia, only that there appears to be a web link.

Dr. Sam Gandy, director of the Mount Sinai Center for Cognitive Health in NEW YORK, reviewed the findings.

“That is in keeping with the growing body of evidence indicating a heart-healthy lifestyle is the greatest method for everyone to modulate their risk for dementia,” Gandy said. “The primary novelty this is actually the concentrate on the risks of ultra-processed foods instead of on the advantages of heart-healthy foods.”

For the analysis, Li’s team collected data on a lot more than 72,000 people listed in the united kingdom Biobank, a big database of health information of individuals in britain. First, participants were age 55 and older and none had dementia. Over the average 10 years, 518 people developed dementia.

Researchers compared 18,000 people whose diets included little processed food with a like number who ate plenty of it.

Among participants who ate minimal amount of processed food items (about 8 ounces each day), 100 developed dementia, in comparison to 150 of these who ate probably the most (about 28-29 ounces each day). The analysis considered one meal of pizza or fish sticks to be just over 5 ounces.

Drinks, sugary products and ultra-processed dairy were the primary contributors to ultra-processed diet.

Li’s group estimated that substituting 10% of ultra-processed foods with unprocessed or minimally processed food items such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, milk and meat, could lower dementia (however, not Alzheimer’s) risk by 19%.

Li said easy changes in food choices could make an impact.

“The tiny and manageable dietary changes, such as for example increasing the quantity of unprocessed or minimally processed food items by only 2 ounces each day [about half an apple, a serving of corn, or perhaps a plate of bran cereal], and simultaneously decreasing ultra-processed foods intake by 2 ounces each day [about a chocolate bar or perhaps a serving of bacon], could be connected with 3% decreased threat of dementia,” Li said.

Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Health in NEW YORK, said it’s always been known that ultra-processed foods raise the probability of developing several chronic conditions. They include cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

“As the exact cause is unknown, it isn’t surprising that kind of dietary pattern is connected with an increased threat of dementia,” she said. “Ultra-processed foods are both biochemically designed and advertised to improve cravings and desire to have these food types, and in lots of households crowd out healthier choices such as for example fruits, vegetables, legumes and wholegrains.”

The indegent nutrient quality of ultra-processed foods — which are saturated in salt, sugar and saturated fat, and lower in fiber — is really a recipe for illness both physically and mentally, Heller said.

“Dodging dementia is another great reason to start out incorporating more plant foods, less ultra-processed foods and animal foods, into our diets,” she said.

Switches is often as easy as replacing sugary cereal with a whole-grain cereal like shredded wheat or oatmeal, or topping pizza with salad or mushrooms and spinach, rather than pepperoni and sausage, Heller said.

Or, she suggested, try falafel in a complete wheat pita with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers rather than a ham sandwich, or lentil soup and a side salad rather than a cheeseburger.

“Every meal can be an opportunity to create a healthy choice,” Heller said.

Keeping your kitchen stocked with well balanced meals, like canned or dried beans, wholegrains like quinoa or brown rice, peanut or almond butter, trail mix and frozen vegetables, helps it be simpler to throw together meals which are abundant with fiber and nutrients, she said.

“Learning new means of food prep and meal ideas might feel daunting initially but there are several free recipes and resources online to show to for guidance,” Heller said. “Anecdotally, I’ve found that with my patients, after they start consuming less ultra-processed foods and much more fresh foods, the cravings and taste for the ultra-processed foods decreases, sometimes to the stage where that bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich doesn’t even taste good anymore.”

The findings were published online July 27 in the journal Neurology .

In a companion editorial, Boston University researchers Maura Walker and Nicole Spartano questioned the study’s definition of ultra-processed foods. They remarked that preparation methods make a difference the vitamins and minerals of foods, and said that further study that’s not influenced by participants’ self-reported diet plan will be beneficial.

“Once we aim to get to know the complexities of dietary intake [processing, timing, mixed meals] we should also consider that investments in more high-quality dietary assessment could be required,” they wrote.

More info

For more on diet and dementia, visit the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

SOURCES: Huiping Li, PhD, School of Public Health, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China; Sam Gandy, MD, PhD, director, Mount Sinai Center for Cognitive Health, NEW YORK; Samantha Heller, MS, RD, CDN, senior clinical nutritionist, NYU Langone Health, NEW YORK; Neurology, July 27, 2022, online

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