A newly released study found a link between ultra-processed foods and a significant increase in the risk of cognitive decline.

The study was published by JAMA Neurology and its findings were based on the eating habits of 10,775 individuals over the course of 10 years. The study involved an ethnically diverse sample of people from 35 to 74. These individuals were recruited in six Brazilian cities.

The researchers, who were based out of the University of São Paulo Medical School, found that the participants who consumed the highest amount of junk food had a 28 percent faster rate of global cognitive decline and a 25 percent faster decline of executive function in the brain compared to people who ate the least amount. 

“Our results together with these other two studies provide evidence that the consumption of ultra-processed food is related to poorer cognitive performance, cognitive decline, and dementia in different samples,” Dr. Natalia Gomes Gonçalves, the study’s lead author, said.

The study is significant because so much of the world’s diet is junk food. Researchers said about 58 percent of the calories consumed each day in the U.S. would fall under the category of ultra-processed, followed by about 57 percent in Britain, and 48 percent in Canada.   

One study, using machine learning, estimated that over 73 percent of the food supply in the U.S. would be considered ultra-processed. 

MedicalNewsToday reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Trusted Source National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that calories obtained from ultra-processed foods increased from 53.5 percent to 57 percent from 2001 to 2018.

What Are ‘Ultra-processed’ Foods?

The NOVA classification system categorizes foods relating to the industrial processes they undergo during production. Public Health Nutrition, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2019, said the process of manufacturing these foods are designed to “create highly profitable (low-cost ingredients, long shelf-life, emphatic branding), convenient (ready-to-consume), hyper-palatable products.”

These products contain ingredients “rarely used in kitchens,” the report said. They include high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated or interesterified oils, and hydrolysed proteins, “or classes of additives designed to make the final product palatable or more appealing (such as flavors, flavor enhancers, colors, emulsifiers, emulsifying salts, sweeteners, thickeners, and anti-foaming, bulking, carbonating, foaming, gelling and glazing agents).”

NOVA’s list of ultra-processed foods include: soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit nectar drinks, alcoholic beverages, distilled beverages, beer, refined cereal, breads, ready-to-eat meals, instant cereals, cookies, candy, sugary drinks, margarine, mayonnaise, chips, instant soups, confectionery, jams, chocolate, ice cream, cake, energy bars, dairy drinks, yogurts, processed cheese, pizza, pasta dishes, instant sauces, processed meat products, meat analogs, infant formulas, weight loss products such as meal replacement shakes and powders.

The World Health Organization has identified processed meats like bacon, ham, and sausage as Group 1 carcinogenic.

Julie Upton, RD, a member of the Eat This, Not That! Medical Review Board, said she was not surprised by the result of the study in Brazil. 

“We know that diets rich in ultra-processed foods are linked with higher rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and these are also risk factors associated with higher risk for cognitive decline,” she said. “Foods that cause weight gain and are bad for your heart tend to be bad for your brain, too.”

TRENDPOST: In September, we published an article titled, “ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS= ULTRA-MENTAL ILLNESS” that noted, by and large, most people don’t care enough to make any significant changes in their lives. 

They consume bullshit news, watch bullshit TV shows, and eat bullshit non-food. We noted in a September article titled “BLIMP TIME: AMERICANS DEVOURING SNACKS AS THEIR WAIST SIZE EXPANDS,” that snack sales in the U.S. are expected to reach $170 billion in sales in the next few years while about 42 percent of Americans are obese.

Sales of supermarket staples Doritos, Ruffles, and PopCorners have jumped by double digits in the second quarter of the year. CNN reported that the running theory is that Americans are turning to quick-fix snacks because they’ve re-emerged from COVID-19 and are back outside their homes again.

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