NATIONAL NEWS

Cognitive decline linked to ultraprocessed food, study finds

Aug 1, 2022, 12:00 PM
Ultraprocessed food link to cognitive
decline....
Ultraprocessed food link to cognitive decline.

(CNN) — Eating ultraprocessed foods for more than 20% of your daily calorie intake every day could set you on the road to cognitive decline, a new study revealed.

We all know eating ultraprocessed foods that make our lives easier — such as prepackaged soups, sauces, frozen pizza and ready-to-eat meals — isn’t good for our health. Nor is gobbling up all the pleasure foods that we love so much: hot dogs, sausages, burgers, french fries, sodas, cookies, cakes, candies, doughnuts and ice cream, to name just a few.

Studies have found they can raise our risk of obesityheart and circulation problemsdiabetes and cancer. They may even shorten our lives.

Now, a new study has revealed eating more ultraprocessed foods may contribute to overall cognitive decline, including the areas of the brain involved in executive functioning — the ability to process information and make decisions.

In fact, men and women who ate the most ultraprocessed foods had a 28% faster rate of global cognitive decline and a 25% faster rate of executive function decline compared with people who ate the least amount of overly processed food, the study found.

“While in need of further study and replication, the new results are quite compelling and emphasize the critical role for proper nutrition in preserving and promoting brain health and reducing risk for brain diseases as we get older,” said Rudy Tanzi, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and director of the genetics and aging research unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He was not involved in the study.

Tanzi, who has written about ultraprocessed foods in his book “The Healing Self: A Revolutionary New Plan to Supercharge Your Immunity and Stay Well for Life,” said the key problem with ultraprocessed foods is that “they are usually very high in sugar, salt and fat, all of which promote systemic inflammation, perhaps the most major threat to healthy aging in the body and brain.

“Meanwhile, since they are convenient as a quick meal, they also replace eating food that is high in plant fiber that is important for maintaining the health and balance of the trillions of bacteria in your gut microbiome,” he added, “which is particularly important for brain health and reducing risk of age-related brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.”

 

It’s not a lot of calories

 

The study, presented Monday at the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego, followed over 10,000 Brazilians for up to 10 years. Just over half of the study participants were women, White or college educated, while the average age was 51.

Cognitive testing, which included immediate and delayed word recall, word recognition and verbal fluency were performed at the beginning and end of the study, and participants were asked about their diet.

“In Brazil, ultraprocessed foods make up 25% to 30% of total calorie intake. We have McDonald’s, Burger King and we eat a lot of chocolate and white bread. It’s not very different, unfortunately, from many other Western countries,” said coauthor Dr. Claudia Suemoto, an assistant professor in the division of geriatrics at the University of São Paulo Medical School.

“Fifty-eight percent of the calories consumed by United States citizens, 56.8% of the calories consumed by British citizens, and 48% of the calories consumed by Canadians come from ultraprocessed foods,” Suemoto said.

Ultraprocessed foods are defined as “industrial formulations of food substances (oils, fats, sugars, starch, and protein isolates) that contain little or no whole foods and typically include flavorings, colorings, emulsifiers, and other cosmetic additives,” according to the study.

“People who consumed more than 20% of daily calories from processed foods had a 28% faster decline in global cognition and a 25% faster decline in executive functioning compared to people who ate less than 20%,” said study coauthor Natalia Gonçalves, a researcher in the department of pathology at the University of São Paulo Medical School.

For a person who eats 2,000 calories a day, 20% would equal 400 or more calories — for comparison, a small order of fries and regular cheeseburger from McDonalds contains a total of 530 calories.

Those in the study who ate the most ultraprocessed foods were “more likely to be younger, women, White, had higher education and income, and were more likely to have never smoked, and less likely to be current alcohol consumers,” the study found.

“People need to know they should cook more and prepare their own food from scratch. I know. We say we don’t have time but it really doesn’t take that much time,” Suemoto said.

“And it’s worth it because you’re going to protect your heart and guard your brain from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease,” she added. “That’s the take-home message: Stop buying things that are superprocessed.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Award-winning author Salman Rushdie is awake and "articulate" following the stabbing attack in New ...
Aya Elamroussi and Mark Morales, CNN

Salman Rushdie awake, ‘articulate’ after stabbing attack in New York, official says

Award-winning author Salman Rushdie is awake and "articulate" in his conversations with investigators as he remains hospitalized for severe injuries following a stabbing attack in western New York Friday, a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation told CNN Monday.
1 day ago
Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a weekly news conference at the U.S. Ca...
Geneva Sands, CNN

Secret Service notified Capitol Police on January 6, of threat directed at Pelosi

The US Secret Service, on the evening of January 6, 2021, notified the US Capitol Police that it had discovered an online threat directed toward House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
1 day ago
Rapper A$AP Rocky appeared in a Los Angeles Superior courtroom on Aug. 17, 2022 and pleaded not gui...
Associated Press

A$AP Rocky pleads not guilty to firearm assault charges

Rapper A$AP Rocky has pleaded not guilty to felony assault with a firearm charges stemming from a 2021 confrontation in Hollywood.
1 day ago
Raspberry Rally goes on sale in early 2023. (Girl Scouts of the USA)...
Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

Girl Scouts add a new raspberry cookie to the lineup

The Girl Scouts are adding a new, raspberry-flavored cookie to the lineup.
1 day ago
[File] Pride Flag...
Associated Press

Wisconsin school board votes in favor of pride flag ban

A Wisconsin school board has voted in favor of a policy that prohibits teachers and staff from displaying gay pride flags and other items that district officials consider political in nature.
1 day ago
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America/Getty Images)...
MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer

CDC director announces shake-up, citing COVID mistakes

The head of the nation’s top public health agency is shaking up the organization with the goal of making it more nimble.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Cognitive decline linked to ultraprocessed food, study finds