Newstalk
Newstalk

09.32 15 Feb 2018


Share this article


Increasing the amount of ultra-processed food in a person's diet proportionately increases their risk of cancer, a large study has found.

An examination of the food intake and health of nearly 105,000 people found that for every 10% more factory-processed food someone consumes, there is a 12% greater risk of them developing the disease.

Fizzy drinks, packaged breads and cakes, crisps, sweets, sausages, bacon and ham, instant noodles, and frozen or chilled ready meals were found to be associated with the increased risk.

Dr. Robert O'Connor is the Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society:

Study warns ultra-processed foods significantly increase cancer risk

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

“The take-home message is that if we engage in lifestyles that are unhealthy, including smoking and taking in too many energy-containing foods - which might make us put on weight unfortunately - then there is a suggestion of an increase in those specific cancers,” he said.

The research by teams from the Sorbonne in Paris and the University of Sao Paulo also suggested there was an 11% increase in the risk of breast cancer.

Eating habits

The study looked at 104,980 healthy French adults with an average age of 43 and asked them about their eating habits.

After an average of five years, the adults were asked whether they had been diagnosed with cancer, and their answers were compared with their medical records.

While eating more ultra-processed food was associated with an increased risk of cancer, there was no significant link between less processed foods - such as canned vegetables, cheese and fresh bread - and cancer.

Consuming fresh or minimally processed foods - such as fruits, vegetables, pulses, rice, pasta and fresh meat - was associated with a lower risk of cancer overall.

Processed

The study's authors say: "Several surveys ... have suggested that ultra-processed food products contribute to between 25% and 50% of total daily energy intake.

"This dietary trend may be concerning and deserves investigation. Several characteristics of ultra-processed foods may be involved in causing disease.

"In this large prospective study, a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a significant increase of greater than 10% in risks of overall and breast cancer.

"Further studies are also needed to better understand the relative effect of nutritional composition, food additives, contact materials, and neoformed contaminants in this relation."

Carcinogenic

The authors say ultra-processed foods often have a higher content of total fat, saturated fat, and added sugar and salt, along with a lower fibre and vitamin density.

They are also more likely to contain additives and other compounds that are created by heat treatment, some of which may be carcinogenic.

They say governments may need to take the findings into consideration when drawing up effective food and health policies to prevent cancer.


Share this article


Read more about

News

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-06:00

Share

Up next

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

06:00-06:30

Share

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

06:30-07:00

Share

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

07:00-09:00

Share

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

09:00-12:00

Share

LUNCHTIME LIVE

LUNCHTIME LIVE

12:00-14:00

Share

MONCRIEFF

MONCRIEFF

14:00-16:00

Share

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

16:00-19:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

19:00-21:00

Share

SPLANC

SPLANC

21:00-23:00

Share

TEAM 33

TEAM 33

23:00-00:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-07:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on