Ultra-processed foods increase the risk of heart attack and stroke

Ultra-processed foods significantly increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, according to two studies presented this weekend at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Amsterdam.

A ready meal

The first study, which followed 10,000 Australian women for 15 years, found that those who had the highest proportion of ultra-processed foods (UPF) in their diet were 39% more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who had the weakest.

The second study, an in-depth analysis of 10 studies involving more than 325,000 men and women, showed that those who ate the most UPF were 24% more likely to suffer serious cardiac and circulatory events, including heart attacks. , strokes and angina pectoris.

Treatment is the problem

More than half of the typical British daily diet is made up of ultra-processed foods, more than in any other country in Europe. The products, made through a series of industrial processes, are often high in salt and sugar and may contain additives and preservatives. They include breakfast cereals, ready meals, frozen pizzas, treats and biscuits.

In the first study, the link between UPF consumption and an increased risk of high blood pressure persisted even after researchers adjusted their analysis to account for the impact of salt, sugar, fat and others. nutrients. This suggests that it is the treatment itself that is harmful.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases the risk of serious heart and circulatory diseases, including heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and vascular dementia.

According to a larger study, a 10% increase in UPF daily calorie intake was associated with a 6% increased risk of heart disease. Those whose UPF made up less than 15 percent of their diet were at the lowest risk of heart problems.

“A growing concern”

Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, our Associate Medical Director, said: “There are growing concerns about the links between ultra-processed foods and cardiovascular disease. A study of Australian women showed an association between higher consumption of these foods and the development of high blood pressure.

“Further research is needed to better understand why these links were discovered and what the mechanisms are. For example, we don’t know how much of this is due to artificial additives or the high levels of salt, sugar and fat these foods tend to contain.

“We know that the world around us doesn’t always make it easy for the healthy option to become an accessible and affordable option. On the contrary, less healthy foods often take center stage. To solve this problem, we need a comprehensive strategy that creates an environment that can help people live long, healthy lives.

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Source link: https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/news-from-the-bhf/news-archive/2023/august/ultra-processed-foods-linked-to-cardiovascular-risk

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