You may have recently heard of ultra-processed foods and their link to cancer in the news, so what is this all about?
Researchers from the French Research Institute have been studying the diet, activity, health status and other factors of 160,000 participants since 2009. This study found that when we increase our consumption of ultra-processed foods by 10%, this increases our risk of cancer by more than 10%. This data also took into account factors such as genetically-related incidents of cancer, so points the finger firmly at ultra-processed foods as the cause.
So what is an ultra-processed food? NOVA classifies food according to how they have been processed and these fall into four categories:
Unprocessed and minimally processed, e.g. raw fruit, bagged salads, cut meat, roasted nuts, frozen and canned vegetables
Processed culinary ingredients, e.g. salt, sugar, butter, vegetable oils
Processed foods, e.g. a fruit compote with added sugar, canned vegetables with added salt