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High Ultraprocessed Food Intake Tied to Greater Mortality

Significant proportion of mortality risk associated with poor nutrient food intake explained by level of food processing

TUESDAY, Sept. 6, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Diets high in ultraprocessed food increase the risk for premature mortality, according to a study published online Aug. 31 in The BMJ.

Marialaura Bonaccio, Ph.D., from the IRCCS Neuromed Mediterranean Neurological Institute in Napoli, Italy, and colleagues examined associations between dietary exposures (measured using the Food Standards Agency Nutrient Profiling System [FSAm-NPS] and the NOVA classification) and mortality risk. The analysis included 22,895 participants (mean age, 55 years; 48 percent male).

The researchers found that for scores in the highest quarter of the FSAm-NPS index versus the lowest quarter, there was a higher risk for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality (adjusted hazard ratios, 1.19 and 1.32, respectively). When comparing the two extreme categories of ultraprocessed food intake (NOVA classification), hazard ratios were 1.19 and 1.27, respectively, for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. The magnitude of the association of the FSAm-NPS dietary index with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality was attenuated by 22.3 and 15.4 percent, respectively, when the two indices were jointly analyzed, but mortality risks associated with high ultraprocessed food intake were not diminished.

“From a public health perspective, this study reinforces the opportunity to reformulate dietary guidelines worldwide, by paying more attention to the degree of processing of foods along with nutrient based recommendations,” the authors write.

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