Ultra-processed foods may lead to ‘greater chance’ of developing dementia

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People who consume the most amounts of ultra-processed foods may have a higher risk of developing dementia than those who consume the least, according to a new study.

The scientists reported that ultra-processed foods such as soft drinks, chips, ice cream, sausage, packaged bread, flavored cereals, canned tomatoes and baked beans, ketchup and mayonnaise contain little protein and fiber and added sugar, fat and salt. Among them are students from Lund University in Sweden.

Replacing such foods with unprocessed or minimally processed alternatives in a person’s diet reduces the risk of dementia, according to a recently published study. magazine neurology,

“Ultra-processed foods are meant to be convenient and tasty, but they reduce the quality of a person’s diet. These foods may also contain food additives or molecules produced from packaging or during heating, including All have been shown in other studies to have a negative effect on thinking and memory skills,” study author Huiping Li said in a statement.

“Our research not only found that ultra-processed foods are associated with an increased risk of dementia, but also found that replacing them with healthier alternatives may reduce the risk of dementia,” said Dr. Lee.

In the study, scientists assessed the health of 72,083 individuals – 55 years of age or older – based on data from the UK Biobank, a massive database containing health information on half a million people in the UK.

The researchers said the participants were tracked for an average of 10 years and did not initially have dementia.

They answered at least two questionnaires on what they ate and drank the day before, with follow-up until March 2021.

Of the individuals assessed, the scientists found that 518 individuals had a diagnosis of dementia at the conclusion of the research.

The scientists then estimated how much highly-processed foods the individuals ate and compared this to produce a ratio of their daily diet in grams per day of other foods.

They divided the subjects into four equal groups, ranging from the lowest to the largest percentage intake of ultra-processed foods.

The researchers found that ultra-processed foods made up one-tenth of the daily diet of people in the lowest group, or about 225 grams per day.

In comparison, 28 percent — or 814 grams per day — of those in the highest category included ultra-processed food.

According to the scientists, beverages were the major food category contributing to high ultra-processed food consumption, followed by sugary goods and dairy.

Of the 18,021 people, just over 100 developed dementia in the lowest grade, while 150 people in the highest category developed the neurological condition.

Adjusting for other factors, including age, gender and family history, the scientists said that for every 10 percent increase in daily intake of ultra-processed foods, people had a 25 percent higher risk of dementia.

Acknowledging the study does not prove that such foods cause dementia, but only serve as a link, the scientists said if a person consumes one-tenth of the ultra-processed foods as unprocessed or minimal. Replacing them with processed foods – such as fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, milk and meat – can reduce the risk of dementia by up to a fifth.

“It is encouraging to learn that small and manageable changes in diet can make a difference in a person’s risk of dementia,” Dr. Lee said. Further research is needed to confirm the findings.

Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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