Sure, we all know junk food is bad for us. Too many calories. Not enough nutrients. But now there’s more evidence about how those tasty treats affect us.
A large, prospective study showed an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes just from eating ultraprocessed foods such as chips and breakfast cereals. For every 3.5-ounce increase in the weight of ultraprocessed food consumed, the risk for Type 2 diabetes increased by 5%.
These findings add to the results of other recent studies that showed that eating ultraprocessed foods was related to increased risks of other chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. An important part about this study is that they found the correlation even after adjusting the data to remove the potential impact of known risk factors such as:
- Body mass index
- Family history of diabetes
- Other dietary and behavioral factors
“The fact that it was a prospective study assures that it reports on actual behaviors, not participants’ memory of past behavior,” says Dr. Jennette Berry, of Advocate South Suburban Hospital. “That makes the results more statistically significant.”
Ultraprocessed foods like instant noodles, chicken nuggets and other industrially processed fare are convenient, but your body may end up paying the price. Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious problems with the nerves, eyes, gums, teeth, kidneys and heart.
“These results reinforce what we’ve known for a long time. Foods that are closer to their natural state offer more nutrition and contribute to better overall health,” says Dr. Berry.
“This is only one study that doesn’t prove causality,” said the senior author, Mathilde Touvier, a researcher at Inserm, the French public health institute. “But the accumulation of evidence suggests the precautionary principle: Try to avoid ultraprocessed food as much as possible.”
Want to learn more about your risk for diabetes? Take a free, quick online risk assessment.