CANCER alert: New research puts spotlight on dangers of industrial food processing

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food-processing-cancer-risk(NaturalHealth365)  The ability to process food is something that separated us from our more primitive ancestors millions of years ago.  Some people would argue that breaking food down, cooking it, and eventually, more complex techniques such as pickling and curing have allowed a much better return on energy investment for our foods.

However, since the 1970s, a new form of ultra-processing has taken over the food market, and with it comes a host of seriously adverse health effects.  In addition to an increased risk of a variety of cancers, the associated negatives with ultra-processed foods include neurological defects, diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, and many others.  A massive cohort study done in Europe provides a basis to examine the link between ultra-processed food and an increase in childhood cancer rates.

How Big Food strips nutrients from our food supply

Large food corporations, often dubbed “Big Food,” employ various methods to process and manipulate foods, which can result in the depletion of essential nutrients.  These corporations typically prioritize profit and shelf stability over nutritional value, leading to the production of highly processed, nutrient-depleted foods.

One common practice is the removal of nutrients during food processing.  For example, refining grains involves stripping away the nutrient-rich bran and germ, leaving behind a product that is predominantly starch with far fewer vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Additionally, industrial food processing often involves the addition of artificial ingredients such as preservatives, flavorings, and colorings.  These additives may further degrade the nutritional quality of the food while enhancing its appeal and shelf life.

Furthermore, the extensive processing of foods can destroy or denature sensitive nutrients like vitamins and enzymes.  For example, high-temperature processing methods, such as pasteurization and sterilization, can diminish the nutritional content of foods, rendering them less beneficial to consumers.

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Overall, the practices employed by Big Food in food processing can lead to the stripping of nutrients from our food supply, contributing to the prevalence of nutrient-poor diets and associated health issues.

Groundbreaking study reveals the real health impact of industrial food processing

A groundbreaking study conducted in the European Union (EU) used data from the extensive EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) cohort study to explore the dangers of eating processed foods.

The EPIC study lasted a decade and involved 23 medical centers across the EU.  Participants shared health information, diagnoses, and details about their diets.  The main goal was to track and understand health trends over the ten-year period through regular check-ups and final assessments.

After wrapping up the EPIC study, researchers carefully looked at the cancer diagnoses of all the participants.  They wanted to see what would happen if people swapped out just 10% of their processed food calories for calories from unprocessed foods.  The results were eye-opening: even this small change led to a more than 10% reduction in the risk of head and neck cancers, colon cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma.

This finding is significant, especially for Americans, who consume much more processed and ultra-processed foods than people in other countries.  Just by shifting slightly away from these highly processed foods, individuals could potentially lower their risk of cancer by a considerable margin.  It’s particularly concerning for those who rely heavily on ultra-processed foods for up to half of their daily calorie intake, as they may face significantly higher cancer risks.

Ultra-processed food is dangerous beyond cancer

Although cancer is not something anybody wants to be diagnosed with, ultra-processed food is associated with a tremendous array of other unpleasant and potentially deadly conditions.

The consumption of ultra-processed foods is linked with heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and a variety of other short and long-term afflictions.

The high amount of vegetable seed oils and sugar in ultra-processed foods have been implicated in causing insulin resistance and diabetes and creating a pro-inflammatory state throughout the body.  The dangers and concerns are real; ultra-processed foods are, in essence, not even really food.

Reclaim your health by ditching ultra-processed foods

No matter your age or background, you hold the key to undoing the harm caused by ultra-processed foods.  Transitioning away from these highly processed options towards (organic) whole foods or minimally processed alternatives can initiate a healing process within your body.

Once you cease inundating your system with unhealthy foods that spike your blood sugar, your cells can start to recover their insulin sensitivity.  This simple change can steer you away from the precipice of type 2 diabetes while also mitigating systemic inflammation, which wreaks havoc from your gut lining to your endothelial cells.  The reduction in endothelial cell damage paves the way for healing and slashes your risk of future heart disease.

Furthermore, each instance of inflammatory damage you prevent decreases your likelihood of developing cancer by minimizing cell damage.  It all begins with steering clear of ultra-processed foods.

Opting for whole (organic) foods over highly processed junk is a straightforward strategy for safeguarding your health.  Keep in mind, in the beginning, healthier foods may not provide the same instant gratification as their ultra-processed counterparts.  But, ultimately, these more nutritious foods are inherently what our bodies are designed to consume and the rewards are amazing!

Sources for this article include:

TheLancet.com


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