Researchers in Brazil estimated that in 2019, the deaths of around 57,000 Brazilian people between the ages of 30 and 69 were attributable to highly processed snacks.

That amounted to nearly 22 per cent of deaths from preventable diseases among that age group, and 10 per cent of all premature deaths.

The experts said in high-income countries like the US, Canada and the UK; where junk food consumption is higher, the estimated impact would be even greater.

Lead study author Dr Eduardo Nilson, a nutritionist at the University of Sao Paulo, said: ‘Consumption of UPFs is associated with many disease outcomes, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers, and other diseases, and it represents a significant cause of preventable and premature deaths among Brazilian adults.’

Reducing the consumption of over-processed junk foods by 10 to 50 per cent could prevent as many as 29,300 premature deaths in Brazil each year. Another reminder to look at what you are eating and begin to focus on the bulk of your diet being real foods and any packaged foods having a limit of 5 easily recognisable ingredients in the ingredients list.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, used data from a national dietary survey. They then drew on a Cambridge University analysis which compared the risk of death in people who consumed large amounts to people who ate relatively little. The researchers applied the findings to Brazil’s population.


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