Here’s a new study with evidence that food additives contribute to cognitive decline!
This could be an important message for you, depending on your dietary habits.
It’s a large, well-designed study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers followed the cognitive health of more than 10,000 Brazilian public servants for 6 to 10 years. Their average age was 51 years at the outset. Over half were women.
When participants joined the study, they first gave detailed information about what they were eating and drinking during the previous 12 months.
Researchers were especially interested to learn about their consumption of “ultraprocessed foods” — foods processed with additives that people typically don’t add to the foods they prepare at home.
These food additives were described as:
“Flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers, and other substances used to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product or intended to imitate the sensorial qualities of unprocessed foods.”
Hint: think of the various additives you usually see listed towards the end of the ingredients list on the packaging of processed foods.
From this information, researchers calculated participants’ average daily consumption of these ‘ultraprocessed foods’.
Researchers then followed up with the participants, checking their cognitive health. Every few years, participants were asked to complete standardized psychological tests.
After 6-10 years, scientists analyzed the data.
They discovered that those participants who had a diet with higher levels of ‘ultraprocessed foods’ showed a 28% faster rate of cognitive decline, compared to participants who consumed less of these foods.
These findings mirror other studies that have investigated deleterious effects of these foods on mother/child health.
Here’s how another study defined 'ultraprocessed foods' [UPFs]:
"UPFs are defined as industrial formulations manufactured from processed substances extracted or refined from whole foods... UPFs also include industrial ingredients, such as hydrogenated fat, protein isolates, and additives such as colors, flavors, artificial sweeteners, and emulsifiers. Some examples include products such as fast foods, cereal bars, cakes, ice cream, pizza, sausages, and soft drinks"
Hint: This research points to the risk of frequent, even daily consumption. The occasional treat is not a risk.
But ladies, check the labels on your processed foods. You could find this information will change your appetite!
To your natural happiness!
Association Between Consumption of Ultraprocessed Foods and Cognitive Decline
Natalia Goncalves et al; JAMA Neurol. December 5, 2022.
Maternal Consumption of Ultra-Processed Foods-Rich Diet and Perinatal Outcomes- A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Paula Walkyria et al; Nutrients 2022