Ultra-processed foods linked to rapid cognitive decline, Yale study reveals

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According to new research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, consuming ultra-processed foods like instant noodles, sugary drinks, and frozen meals may significantly impair brain function.

The study, led by Rafael Perez-Escamilla and his team from Yale University, links these foods with a faster rate of cognitive decline.

Previous studies have already associated the consumption of ultra-processed foods with a variety of health issues, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancers.

Certain research has even suggested that these foods may increase the risk of dementia.

In this latest study, the diets and cognitive functions of around 10,000 middle-aged and older individuals were examined.

The findings revealed that those consuming 20% or more of their daily calories from ultra-processed foods experienced a much more rapid cognitive decline over a period of 6 to 10 years compared to individuals consuming fewer processed foods.

Ultra-processed foods are characterized by their minimal preparation requirements and easy consumption.

Unlike whole foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, potatoes, eggs, seafood, or meat, processed foods generally do not satiate consumers as effectively.

The research team noted that a wide variety of ultra-processed foods are often misleadingly marketed as healthy.

Processed foods, typically composed of very few whole ingredients and numerous additives like flavorings and colorings, include items like bread, crackers, cookies, fried snacks, cream cheese, ice cream, candy, soda, hot dogs, and frozen meals.

This new research underscores the potential detrimental effects of ultra-processed foods not only on physical health but also on cognitive health, suggesting a vital need for greater public awareness and dietary changes.

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