Death by junk food? Ultra-processed foods becoming the new ‘silent killer’

Death by junk food? Ultra-processed foods becoming the new ‘silent killer’
Photo credit: Image by Nemanja_us from Pixabay

Study Finds: “Medical professionals are raising the alarm over a ‘silent killer’ that has infiltrated American society — ultra-processed foods. In a new study, physicians from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine are shining a light on the perils of these foods and the urgent need for a dietary shift.

Ultra-processed foods, a common and widespread item in diets across the United States, include many products like soda, cereals, and snacks. They are also a staple in children’s diets, making up nearly 70 percent of their food intake. These foods are full of additives such as oils, fats, sugars, starches, sodium, and a variety of emulsifiers — ingredients foreign to a natural human diet and potentially detrimental to health.”

Dr. Dawn H. Sherling, study corresponding author, says:

“Those of us practicing medicine in the U.S. today find ourselves in an ignominious and unique position — we are the first cohort of health care professionals to have presided over a decline in life expectancy in 100 years.”

The article went on to explain:

“The commentary outlines several health risks associated with these foods, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. These foods often contain emulsifiers and other additives that can disrupt the natural gut microbiome, potentially leading to conditions like inflammatory bowel disease. Additives like maltodextrin may alter the mucous layer of the gut, making it more susceptible to harmful bacteria and triggering immune responses that could harm the body…️The commentary also draws a parallel between the fight against ultra-processed foods and the historical battle against tobacco, predicting a challenging road ahead due to the powerful influence of multinational food corporations.”

Dr. Sherling added:

“The multinational companies that produce ultra-processed foods are just as, if not more, powerful than tobacco companies were in the last century, and it is unlikely that governments will be able to move quickly on policies that will promote whole foods and discourage the consumption of ultra-processed foods. Importantly, health care providers also should remain cognizant of the difficulties that many of our patients have in being able to afford and find healthier options, which calls for a broader public health response.”

Study Finds, 2/22/24

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