TUESDAY, Nov. 8, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Consumption of ultraprocessed foods is a significant cause of premature death, according to a study published online Nov. 7 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Eduardo A.F. Nilson, Sc.D., from University of São Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues estimated premature deaths attributable to the consumption of ultraprocessed food in Brazil. The model was based on relative risks from a recent meta-analysis, national food consumption for 2017 to 2018, and demographic and mortality data for 2019.

The researchers found that the ultraprocessed foods contribution to the total energy intake of the diet across sex and age stratum of Brazilian adults ranged from 13 to 21 percent of the total energy intake. Among adults aged 30 to 69 years, the consumption of ultraprocessed foods was responsible for approximately 57,000 premature deaths or 10.5 percent of all premature deaths. Cutting the contribution of ultraprocessed foods to the total energy intake by 10 to 50 percent could potentially prevent 5,900 to 29,300 deaths.

“Even reducing consumption of ultraprocessed foods to the levels of just a decade ago would reduce associated premature deaths by 21 percent,” Nilson said in a statement. “Policies that disincentivize the consumption of [ultraprocessed foods] are urgently needed.”

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