Cancer, dementia… the trick to knowing if what you’re eating is healthy

Cancer, dementia… the trick to knowing if what you’re eating is healthy


  • Ultra-processed foods make up an average of 31% of the French plate, according to a study published in The European Journal of Nutrition in 2020.
  • However, ultra-processed foods are much less nutritious and consuming them in large quantities increases the risk of developing many health problems.

Earlier this week, Why Doctor relayed an analysis of the UFC-Que Choisir association on “no added sugar” foods sold in supermarkets. According to his results, these products often contain many more additives and fats than their traditional alternatives, which means that they would not be healthier. So how to find it? Asked by the Daily Mail, a nutritionist gives her tip.

Foods: consume those with a “short and simple” list of ingredients

Foods that contain no more than five ingredients and that are not too difficult to pronounce should be favored, according to American dietitian Jessica Cording. “The more food is processed, the less nutritious it is”, she insists. “Consuming too much of them is associated with different types of cancers, heart disease, diabetes and cognitive decline.

Dementia, cancer… the harmful effects of ultra-processed products

Several characteristics of ultra-processed foods lead to the belief that they could have negative effects on health, as suggested by some twenty epidemiological studies recently published in France and around the world.”, recalls Public Health France on its website

In this case, a study published last month shows that the consumption of nitrites, particularly present in processed meats, could increase the risk of developing a gastrointestinal tumor by up to 53%. Other research already showed an association between nitrites and colorectal cancer.

Another recent study published in JAMA Neurology in early December 2022, found that people with a diet containing more than 19.9% ​​ultra-processed foods had 28% faster cognitive decline than those who ate less.

And that’s not all ! Ultra-processed foods are also blamed for other diseases and health disorders: obesity, cardiovascular pathologies, depression, migraines, etc.

Some examples of processed and ultra-processed foods…

To find your way around the foods to avoid, you can therefore, as the dietician suggests, rely on the labels… but not only! Some products are typically ultra-processed, as Public Health France reminds us:

  1. sodas (classic and light);
  2. industrial products such as cordons bleus, sticks and nuggets made from
    poultry, fish, or reconstituted meat;
  3. the cold cuts ;
  4. instant noodles;
  5. dehydrated vegetable soups;
  6. most industrial breads and buns, cereal bars, energy bars and many industrial cakes and cookies;
  7. most margarines;
  8. most flavored milk drinks;
  9. sweet desserts made from fruit with added sugars, artificial flavors and texturizing agents;
  10. chocolate bars generally containing emulsifiers;
  11. most vegetables seasoned with ready-to-use sauces; vegetable patties (meat substitutes) containing additives (texturizers, flavor enhancers, etc.);
  12. chewing gum and sweets with colorings or sweeteners
  13. “health” and “slimming” products such as meal replacements and powdered or “enriched” dishes, sweetened foods (yogurts, drinks, biscuits, etc.).

Conversely, foods with little or no processing are fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, cereals and dry legumes (rice, pasta, lentils, beans, etc.), milk or fresh meat and fish.

Cancer, dementia… the trick to knowing if what you’re eating is healthy

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