"THE BIG C" : NEW CANCER LINKS TO ULTRA-PROCESSED FOOD
A recent, groundbreaking study by a team of researchers at the Sorbonne has strengthened scientific understanding of the links between Ultra-Processed Foods (UPFs) and cancer. Worryingly, UPFs including pot noodles, ready meals and artificial foodstuffs containing high levels of additives, preservatives, sugar and fat, now account for half of all the food bought by British families eating at home.
The research, conducted as part of the French NutriNet-Santé study, investigated the medical records and eating habits of 105,000 adults, registering their intake of over 3000 regularly eaten items. The preliminary findings show that a 10% increase in the intake of UPFs corresponds to a 12% increase in cancers of some kind, including an 11% rise in breast cancer specifically.
France has been one of the leading countries raising awareness about the effects of UPFs and has set up high-profile publicity campaigns. However according to Mathilde Touvier, lead author of the study, although these foods have already been linked to obesity, the association with cancer is new.
Another country promoting greater public awareness is Brazil, home of Prof Carlos Monteiro, the scientist credited with coining the term “ultra-processed food”. Brazilian government dietary guidelines recommend foods according to their classification into four groups: raw or minimally processed foods including seeds, fruit, eggs and milk; processed culinary ingredients such as oils and butter; processed foods including bottled vegetables and canned fish and cheeses; and ultra-processed, which are “formulations made mostly or entirely from substances derived from foods and additives”.
Translated to Britain, this would mean that half our households are regularly eating “unnatural” food, high in chemicals, lacking nutritional value, which may represent a cancer timebomb, ticking for years to come. With a looming Brexit meaning a possible loss of EU food standard regulations, coupled with an opening up to some of the highly questionable produce coming over the US, maybe it’s time for us to take a leaf out of Brazil’s book!
MELANIE R GONZALEZ
CEO FOUNDER COOKYOURLIFE – EDITOR IN CHIEF
REGISTERED NUTRITIONAL THERAPIST
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