Next time you go for a packaged snack, keep in mind that a new study from France suggests people who consume foods that are “ultra” processed face an increased risk in developing Type 2 diabetes.
Processed foods have long been linked to an increased risk of a wide variety of health problems, and the study does not come to a shock, but it does offer new evidence to support the fact that processed foods should be avoided by people who are prone to access weight gain.
In the study, the associations between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and the risk of Type 2 diabetes were explored among a large group of participants in a web-based study cohort in France.
Ultra-processed foods generally contain food additives and have longer shelf-lives because of preservatives. This observational study didn’t focus on a particular food category or additive.
The researchers found those who ate the most ultra-processed foods, 166 in every 100,000 developed diabetes, compared with 116 out of every 100,000 people who ate the smallest amounts of these foods.
As to why ultra-processed food consumption was associated with increased Type 2 diabetes risk, the authors provided several explanations:
One, ultra-processed foods usually have lower nutritional quality because they are richer in sodium, fat, sugar, and poorer in fiber and often have a higher glycemic index. Several of these factors are associated with Type 2 diabetes.
Also, many ultra-processed foods such as processed meat, and sugary sweetened beverages are recognized as Type 2 diabetes risk factors.
Moreover, the researchers noted that high consumers of ultra-processed had lower consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which are recommended in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.
The authors note that this was a large observational prospective study, and the results need to be confirmed in other populations and settings.
Still, the researchers note they provide evidence to support efforts by public health authorities to recommend limiting Ultra-processed food consumption.
The authors note that people looking to lower their risk of diabetes should limit their intake of red and processed meats and sodas and other sugary drinks.
To figure out if a product has ultra-processed ingredients, all you have to do is look at the list of ingredients. If there’s a very long ingredient with chemical-sounding names, there’s a good chance of ultra-processed food.
- JAMA. (2019, December 16). Exploring associations between ultra-processed food consumption, type 2 diabetes. EurekAlert! Retrieved December 17, 2019, from https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-12/jn-eab121219.php