These Are The Ultra-Processed Foods Linked To Depression, Anxiety And 30 Other Conditions

There is a crucial difference between processed and ultra processed foods.

A new study published in the British Medical Journal has revealed that Ultra Processed Foods (UPFs) are linked with 32 harmful effects to health, in what is the world’s largest review of its kind.

These effects include increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, adverse mental health and even early death.

According to the British Heart Foundation, more than half of the typical British daily diet is made up of ultra-processed food, more than any other country in Europe.

However, before chucking out all of the processed foods in your home, it may be worth familiarising yourself with UPFs and what they actually are.

Which foods count as Ultra Processed Foods?

The British Heart Foundation states that processed foods include: ice cream, ham, sausages, crisps, mass-produced bread, breakfast cereals, biscuits, carbonated drinks, fruit-flavoured yoghurts, instant soups, and some alcoholic drinks including whisky, gin, and rum.

Concerns were raised around UPFs as they often contain high levels of saturated fat, salt and sugar and when we eat them, we leave less room in our diets for more nutritious foods.

Now, the new research has confirmed that there is a correlation between these foods and adverse health effects.

Within the research, evidence showed that higher UPF intake was associated with about a 50% increased risk of cardiovascular disease-related death, a 48 to 53% higher risk of anxiety and common mental disorders, and a 12% greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

According to The Guardian, Dr Chris van Tulleken, an associate professor at University College London and one of the world’s leading UPF experts, said the findings were “entirely consistent” with a now “enormous number of independent studies which clearly link a diet high in UPF to multiple damaging health outcomes including early death”.

Should we all be cutting out Ultra Processed Foods from our diets?

According to the British Heart Foundation, not so much. Instead, we should be adding more healthy, nutritious foods to our diets:

“Instead of trying to completely cut out these foods, think about the balance in your diet. Make sure that there are minimally processed foods in there too – eat fruit and vegetables with your meals and drink water instead of sugary drinks – and try to fit in time over the week for home cooking.”