Ultra-processed foods cause cognitive decline and dementia, study finds
12/14/2022 // Ethan Huff // Views

New research published in the journal JAMA Neurology links the consumption of ultra-processed food to brain degradation.

Those who consume at least 20 percent of their daily calories as food the way nature did not intend have a substantially higher risk of suffering cognitive decline or developing dementia, the study found.

Things like pizza, hot dogs, cookies, pastries, cakes, candy, and ice cream are all examples of ultra-processed foods that researchers say are disastrous for brain health. (Related: The climate cult says that processed food is just fine, and that "global warming" is the real cause of disease.)

According to the study, ultra-processed foods are "industrial formulations of food substances [oils, fats, sugars, starch, and protein isolates] that contain little or no whole foods and typically include flavorings, colorings, emulsifiers, and other cosmetic additives."

Maybe you are thinking to yourself, I eat junk food every once in a while, but not that much so I should be good. Remember, though, that 20 percent of a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet is just 400 calories, and a McDonald's Big Mac is at least 560 calories all on its own.

Depending on how much nutritious food you consume in a day, 20 percent is not all that much. And the implications of eating this relatively small amount of ultra-processed food are enormous.

"In a cohort study of 10?,775 individuals, higher consumption of [ultra-processed] foods was associated with a higher rate of global and executive function decline after a median follow-up of 8 years," the study explains.


Eat healthy and save your brain

For the research, these nearly 11,000 individuals were tracked over the course of a decade based on their eating habits and mental state. They were asked to take tests evaluating their ability to recall and recognize words, as well as speak coherently.

In the end, those who consumed higher amounts of ultra-processed food were deemed to be less cognitively and verbally able compared to those who ate whole foods the way nature intended.

"These findings suggest that limiting consumption of [ultra-processed] food could be associated with reduced cognitive decline in middle-aged and older adults," the study found.

"A higher percentage of daily energy consumption of [ultra-processed] foods was associated with cognitive decline among adults from an ethnically diverse sample. These findings support current public health recommendations on limiting [ultra-processed] food consumption because of their potential harm to cognitive function."

The investigators behind the study stressed that among those with high healthy diet scores, there was no association seen between ultra-processed food consumption and cognitive decline. This is notable because it suggests that eating right the vast majority of the time overrides a few occasions of junk food consumption.

Keep in mind that the correlations made were observed in those below the age of 60. Researchers say these revelations should serve as a wake-up call to middle-aged folks to encourage them to eat better in order to avoid suffering cognitive decline later in life.

"Investigators failed to find an association between UPF consumption and cognitive decline for those aged 60 years or older," reports Neurology Live about the paper.

Why younger people seem to be the only ones affected by ultra-processed food consumption remains unknown. Perhaps the elderly have already experienced some degree of cognitive decline by the time they reach that age and thus do not show any further signs of brain degradation caused by junk food consumption.

Whatever the case may be, the takeaway is that junk food consumption kills the brain over time. Avoiding it and sticking with whole foods the way nature intended will go a long way towards keeping your brain healthy and sharp.

To learn more about healthy living, visit FoodIsMedicine.com.

Sources for this article include:




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