This trend may lead to an increase in early deaths due to chronic illnesses, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, they say.
To understand the relationship between ultraprocessed foods and the risk of an earlier-than-expected death, the researchers enlisted the help of 44,551
The researchers have calculated the total dietary intake and consumption of ultraprocessed foods .
Ultraprocessed foods accounted for more than 14% of the total food consumed and about 29% of the total calories they found. Ultraprocessed food consumption was associated with younger age, lower income, lower educational level, living alone, higher BMI and lower physical activity level.
Over the study period, 602 participants died. After adjusting for factors such as smoking, researchers calculated an associated 14% higher risk of premature death for each 10% increase in the proportion of consumed ultraprocessed foods.
Further studies are needed to confirm these results, the authors say. Still, they speculate that the additives, the packaging (chemicals leech into the food during storage) and the processing itself, including high-temperature processing, may be the factors that negatively affect health.