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Ultra-processed food linked to cancer risk

Further light has been shed on the possible dangers of eating ultra-processed food. A new study has revealed that consuming food such as sausages, frozen pizza, ready-to-eat meals, sodas and cakes can increase the risk of cancer, heart disease or an earlier death. Ultra-processed food includes products made in factories from ingredients that are largely or entirely made in a laboratory. They are added with things like preservatives, flavour enhancers, colourings, sugar and fats. The research was conducted on over 200,000 people in the USA over a 28-year period. Researcher Dr Fang Fang Zhang said men who ate a lot of ultra-processed food had a 29 per cent higher risk of developing bowel cancer.

Ultra-processed foods make up a growing proportion of the food we eat. The WHO says they account for around two-thirds of calories in the diets of American children and teenagers. Dr Zhang said children who ate ultra-processed food gained weight more quickly than those who ate a more nutritious and well balanced diet. She said: "Americans consume a large percentage of their daily calories from ultra-processed foods." She gave advice on how people can look after their bodies better through their diets. She said: "We should consider substituting ultra-processed foods with unprocessed or minimally processed foods in our diet for cancer prevention and for the prevention of obesity and cardiovascular diseases."

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