Ultra-processed foods lead to cognitive decline, study finds

Eating ultra-processed foods for more than 20% of your daily calorie intake can put you on the road to cognitive decline, a new study revealed on Monday – pre-packaged soups, sauces, pizzas and ready meals are not good for health, such as hot dogs, sausages, hamburgers, fries, sodas, cookies, cakes or candies, to name a few.

Several studies have already shown that they can increase our risk of obesity, heart and circulatory problems, diabetes and cancer: they can even shorten our life. and cancer. However, a new study has found that eating more ultra-processed foods may contribute to overall cognitive decline, including areas of the brain involved in executive functioning – the ability to process information and make decisions.

In fact, men and women who ate the most ultra-processed foods had a 28% faster rate of overall cognitive decline and a 25% faster rate of executive function decline compared to people who ate the least amount of processed foods. over-processed foods, study finds. found. “While they require further study, the new findings are quite compelling and underscore the critical role of adequate nutrition in preserving and promoting brain health and reducing the risk of brain disease as we age. we’re getting old,” said Rudy Tanzi, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical. School and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA.

“They’re typically very high in sugar, salt and fat, which promote systemic inflammation, perhaps the biggest threat to healthy aging of the body and brain. But because they’re convenient as a quick meal, they also replace the consumption of foods high in plant fiber, which are important for maintaining the health and balance of the billions of bacteria in your gut microbiome,” he added, “which is especially important for the brain “. health and reduce the risk of age-related brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, presented this Monday at the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego, US, followed more than 10,000 Brazilians for 10 years. Cognitive tests were performed, which included immediate and delayed word recall, word recognition, and verbal fluency, at the start and end of the study.

“People who ate more than 20% of their daily calories from processed foods had a 28% faster decline in overall cognition and a 25% faster decline in executive functioning compared to people who ate less than 20% “, underlined Natalia, co-author of the study. Gonçalves, researcher at the Department of Pathology of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, 20% equals 400 calories or more – for comparison, a small serving of McDonald’s fries and cheeseburger contains a total of 530 calories.

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