International study links ultra-processed foods to greater risk of head and neck cancer

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ultra-processed-foods(NaturalHealth365)  Unfortunately, too many people regularly indulge in processed foods without much consideration.  Growing up, the average person often found these foods omnipresent in their households due to their affordability and appealing taste.

However, a recent international study has uncovered a concerning aspect of ultra-processed foods.  This research highlights a connection between the consumption of highly processed foods and an elevated risk of both head and neck cancer.  The findings shed light on the potential health implications associated with our common dietary choices.

Insights from a recent study on ultra-processed foods and cancer development

In the study mentioned earlier, researchers discovered that ultra-processed foods contain substances associated with the development of mouth and throat cancer.  However, the noteworthy finding is that the risk of developing cancer in these areas significantly rises with increased consumption of such processed foods and beverages.

The research involved an analysis of the dietary habits and lifestyles of 450,111 individuals over a span of 14 years.  The results revealed that those with higher consumption of ultra-processed foods faced an elevated risk of developing cancer in the esophagus and upper digestive tract.

Specifically, a 10% increase in the intake of ultra-processed foods was correlated with a notable 23% increase in the risk of both neck and head cancer.  Additionally, a 10% rise in the consumption of ultra-processed foods heightened the likelihood of esophageal cancer by 24%.

Why do ultra-processed foods damage the human body?

While the researchers behind the study aren’t entirely certain about why ultra-processed foods pose a threat to people, the findings suggest that the increased risk may at least be partially attributed to contaminants from packaging materials.  Despite this potential harm, such products remain pervasive due to their affordability and convenience.

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It’s essential to highlight that the mentioned study builds upon prior research that already established a connection between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer.  An earlier European study delved into this relationship, examining more than 30 types of cancer.  The lingering question revolves around whether the packaging materials of these foods solely contribute to the heightened cancer risk or play a partial role in its causation.

Here are the top offenders and how to remove them from your diet

Open your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer, and you’ll likely find plenty of processed foods.  Breaking away from tasty processed treats and entrees requires planning and preparation.  Make a mental note to avoid these ultra-processed foods and beverages at the grocery store:

  • Sugary drinks
  • Baked goods such as cakes, cookies and doughnuts
  • Sugar-laden breakfast cereals
  • Frozen pizzas and other frozen meals
  • Instant noodles
  • Processed meats such as sausage, bacon, deli meat and hot dogs
  • Packaged snacks and sweets such as bars of chocolate, crackers, pretzels and chips
  • Reconstituted fish/meat products such as fish sticks and nuggets
  • Foods/beverages with artificial sweeteners, such as foods labeled as “light” or diet

The challenge lies in finding creative ways to replace the ultra-processed foods listed above with healthy alternatives.  Instead of buying baked goods loaded with unnecessarily high amounts of sugar and fat, bake your own at home.  DIY homemade baked items are fresh, delicious, and, most importantly, do not have packaging that contains harmful chemicals.

Instead of buying prepackaged meat or deli meat, make a trip to the local butcher for 100% grass fed meat that is much safer, healthier, and presented in packaging that doesn’t subject you to nasty additives.

Resist the temptation to pop a frozen pizza or other frozen dinner into the oven.  Invest 15 minutes of time in making your own DIY pizza at home, and you’ll find it tastes better and is significantly healthier for your body.  Of course, for those people looking to be more “advanced,” developing your own organic food garden at home is a very smart choice.

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