THURSDAY, July 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Increased consumption of ultraprocessed foods is associated with an increased risk for developing dementia, according to a study published online July 27 in Neurology.

Huiping Li, Ph.D., from Tianjin Medical University in China, and colleagues examined the associations between ultraprocessed foods and dementia incidence in 72,083 participants (aged 55 years or older) who were free from dementia at baseline from the U.K. Biobank.

The researchers found that 518 participants developed dementia during a total of 717,333 person-years of follow-up (median, 10.0 years), including 287 and 119 with Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia, respectively. Ultraprocessed food consumption was associated with an increased risk for dementia, Alzheimer disease, and vascular dementia in the fully adjusted model (hazard ratio per 10 percent increase in ultraprocessed food intake, 1.25, 1.14, and 1.28, respectively). Replacing 10 percent of ultraprocessed food weight in diet with an equivalent proportion of unprocessed or minimally processed food was estimated to be associated with a significantly reduced risk for dementia (hazard ratio, 0.81).

“Ultraprocessed foods are meant to be convenient and tasty, but they diminish the quality of a person’s diet,” Li said in a statement. “Our research not only found that ultraprocessed foods are associated with an increased risk of dementia, it found replacing them with healthy options may decrease dementia risk.”

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