Ultra-Processed Foods Photo: SentinelAssam

Over-processed food may increase risk of inflammatory bowel disease: Research

*Experts encourage consumers to choose fresher, healthier food options and preparations for optimal digestive health

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Studies have associated eating ultra-processed foods with several health risks, including poor heart health and an increased likelihood of cancer.

Now, a fresh research is exploring how this type of diet can impact consumers’ gut health as well, agency report stated.

Researchers found that eating large quantities of ultra-processed foods may increase consumers’ risk of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

They wrote: “We found that higher intake of ultra-processed foods was associated with an increased risk of IBD.

“This was seen for all ultra-processed foods, as well as individual types, including processed meats, soft drinks, refined sweetened foods, and salty foods and snacks.”

In investigating health risks of processed foods for the study, the experts analysed data from more than 116,000 participants who were enrolled in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study.

They also examined closely the participants’ dietary habits and followed up with them over the course of nearly 10 years to determine how their food choices impacted their health.

The researchers learned that participants who ate the most ultra-processed foods were at the highest risk of developing IBD, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

The study findings noted that participants who ate as many as four servings of processed foods each day were nearly 70 percent more likely to develop IBD, while those who ate five or more servings each day were more than 80 percent more likely to develop IBD.

Researchers equally looked at the effects of specific food choices on the risk of IBD, and determined that it was not necessarily the food choices that were bad, but the way the foods were prepared.

Though the team does not recommend entirely eliminating things like red meat, dairy products, or certain legumes, the researchers say consumers should opt for fresher varieties of these options instead of ultra-processed versions.

ConsumerConnect reports that examples of commonly processed foods include breakfast cereals, cheese, tinned vegetables, bread, savoury snacks, such as crisps, sausage rolls, pies and pasties, meat products, such as bacon, sausage, ham, salami and pate, microwave meals or ready meals as well as cakes and biscuits.

Kindly Share This Story