Ready meals and cereals linked with rise in cancer

Processed foods linked to higher risk of cancer study

They grouped foods according to how processed or unprocessed they were and compared the results to cases of cancer over an average of 5 years. In addition to the 12% increase in overall cancer risk, the researchers found that eating processed food regularly was linked to an 11% increase in the odds of getting breast cancer and a "borderline significant" increase in the risk of colorectal cancer.

Prof Donal O'Shea, consultant endocrinologist at St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, said the study provided "the clearest signal yet" that ultra-processed foods were linked to cancers, and were linked to common cancers in a young population.

However, they reported that less-processed foods, such as cheese, pasta and canned vegetables, did not raise cancer risks.

"The take-home message is that if we engage in lifestyles that are unhealthy, including smoking and taking in too many energy-containing foods - which might make us put on weight unfortunately - then there is a suggestion of an increase in those specific cancers", he said.

Research has already discovered that people who live on ultra-processed food likely to be overweight and more obese.

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK's prevention expert based at the University of Stirling called on the Scottish Government to take action to regulate price promotions like those favoured by the supermarket giants.

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"On the off chance that affirmed in different populaces and settings, these outcomes recommend that the quickly expanding consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive an expanding weight of cancer in the following decades", the specialists said in the British Medical Journal.

However Dr Ian Johnson, a nutrition researcher at the Quadram Institute Bioscience, in Norwich, said the authors have identified "some rather weak associations, of low statistical significance" between some types of cancer and diet.

Lajous says the "ultra-processed" designation covers a broad range of foods, all with their own additives, nutritional makeups, and methods of processing. Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort. "The challenge now is to disentangle the different foods and understand this relationship to see what specifically is having this effect".

Foods on the list included packaged breads, buns, pizzas and cakes, crisps, industrially-produced desserts, sodas, fish and chicken nuggets, instant noodles and soups, and frozen ready meals.

The research, published Wednesday in The BMJ, focused on ultra-processed foods, which tend to be high in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt. We are a long way from understanding the full implications of food processing for health and well-being. A 2016 study found that 60% of the calories in the average American diet come from this kind of food. Drinks, sugary products, fats and sauces were most strongly associated with a heightened cancer risk, according to the paper, while sugary processed foods were most strongly linked to breast cancer.

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