They often has a long list of ingredients and are typically higher in sugar, salt and fat, with lower fibre and vitamin content.
A Spanish study showed higher death rates in those who ate at least four ultra-processed foods a day, while French researchers revealed these foods were associated with higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) rates.
In the first study, researchers based in France and Brazil found increasing the intake of ultra-processed food by 10 per cent was linked with higher rates of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease at 12, 13 and 11 per cent respectively.More news: United States ends special trade treatment for India amid tariff dispute
In addition to their potential negative effect on weight gain detailed earlier this month, ultra-processed foods may increase risk of developing both cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease.
Although these studies are observational and so can't establish causality, the results add to previous studies that link ultraprocessed foods to higher risks of health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers. Participants imn the NutriNet-Santé study were asked to complete six 24-hour dietary questionnaires to measure their usual intake of 3,300 different food items, ranked according to how processed they were.
A huge variety of products fall under the ultra-processed designation, including ones that may not be immediately obvious, such as dehydrated soup broths and ready-made meals containing additives.
Again, foods were grouped according to degree of processing and deaths were measured over an average of 10 years.More news: Australian minimum wage to increase $21.60 a week, Fair Work Commission announces
The same study also uncovered lower risks of all reported diseases for people who eat more unprocessed or minimally processed foods.
Each additional serving increased mortality risk by 18%.
"Discouraging the consumption of ultra-processed foods; targeting products, taxation, and marketing restrictions on ultra-processed products; and promotion of fresh or minimally processed foods should be considered part of important health policy to improve global public health".
In a commentary, Deakin University researchers agreed: "Policy makers should shift their priorities away from food reformulation - which risks positioning ultra-processed food as a solution to dietary problems - towards a greater emphasis on promoting the availability, affordability, and accessibility of unprocessed or minimally processed foods".More news: Hauser brothers leaving Marquette for Virginia and Michigan State