Tuesday, June 18

Overly processed food? Say no, please.

No matter if it's in the form of cereal (like your childhood favorite, Cap'n Crunch), snack foods (like Cheetos), entrees (like hot dogs), or desserts (like Twinkies), Americans are obsessed with ultra-processed food. Yes, eating a Mediterranean-style diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and healthy oils improves heart and brain health. Is eating ultra-processed food detrimental to the health of your brain, though?

What this new study's findings mean
According to a recent study, there is a clear correlation between consuming highly processed meals and an increased risk of stroke and cognitive decline.

The REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) project, a longitudinal study of non-Hispanic Black and White Americans aged 45 and older, provided data for this well-designed observational study. Initial enrollment for the study took place between 2003 and 2007. Upon receiving a series of questionnaires, participants were asked to rate their health, nutrition, exercise, body mass index, education, income, usage of alcohol, mood, and other parameters. Furthermore, memory and language exams were given on a regular basis.

Based on the quality of the information from the questionnaires and tests, data from 20,243 and 14,175 participants, respectively, were deemed to be used to analyze the risk of stroke and cognitive impairment. Of the sample, about one-third identified as black, and the other two-thirds mostly identified as white.

Say no to ultra processed food

The study's findings
The authors' data showed that a mere 10% increase in the consumption of ultra-processed meals was linked to a considerably higher risk of stroke and cognitive impairment.

Consuming foods that have been minimally or not at all processed has been linked to a decreased risk of cognitive impairment.

Those who identified as black had a higher risk of stroke from ultra-processed foods than did those who identified as white.

In comparison to study participants who followed similar healthy diets but consumed more ultra-processed foods, individuals who reported following a healthy diet (such as a Mediterranean, DASH, or MIND diet) and consuming fewer ultra-processed foods showed superior brain function.

Why could eating a lot of processed food be detrimental to your brain?

The following are some rational biological explanations:

Generally speaking, UPFs are made up of processed carbohydrates that digest fast into simple sugars—the same as consuming a lot of sweets. Insulin spikes from these sugar overloads can change how normal brain cells work.

Consuming highly processed food is connected to an increased risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome, two well-known diseases that are linked to high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipid levels, and type 2 diabetes.

Ultra-processed foods contain unhealthy additives that alter their flavor, texture, color, or sweetness. These chemicals have the potential to upset the gut microbiome and induce inflammation, which in turn may lead to the formation of metabolites (including lipopolysaccharides and short-chain fatty acids) that are produced by the microbiome and have the potential to impact brain function.

Increased cortisol levels that mimic chronic stress, which can directly impact hippocampal and frontal lobe function, affecting memory and executive function performance; leaky gut, allowing toxins and inflammatory molecules to enter the bloodstream and go to the brain; altered neurotransmitter function (such as serotonin), which can impact mood and cognition;

A higher chance of developing Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other neurodegenerative illnesses as a result of inflammatory chemicals entering the brain from the gut.

People who eat ultra-processed meals frequently feel hungry soon afterward due to their low nutritional value, which can result in overeating and its negative effects.

The key takeaway
Steer clear of processed foods, which can include frozen dinners and ready-to-eat meals; processed meats like hot dogs and bologna; packaged sweets and candy; quick noodles and soups; industrial breads and pastries; and packaged sweets and candies. Consume minimum or no processed foods, such as fish, olive oil, avocados, whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains, along with a nutritious Mediterranean diet.


  1. Mediterrean diet is based onsimple food, but is comfty to have inside freezer ready meal, once per weeke is ok but daily could be dangerous for your healt (and your wallet too)

  2. After years of consuming processed food and in large amount (blame it on the fast food chain for biggie whatever), Americans have become obese and are facing all kinds of health issues like stroke, heart attacks, hyper tension and diabetes. 90% of people I know are on some kind of drugs to counter these diseases. We have to take control of our health, by reading labels and purchasing healthier products, eating less, eating healthier, and exercise more.

  3. I avoid processed food and even during winter try to eat a lot of vegetables. Fresh made well-balanced meals with good quality ingredients are my basis. Great and very informative post.

  4. I don't follow any diet. I'm not a vegetarian either, but meat doesn't have to be on my table every day. I really like fish, but today my lunch (and dinners later) is pancake with strawberries, whipped cream and tiramisu topping.
    I regards!

  5. Processed food may have seemed a good idea way back when but it isn't something I like much, I like cheese but not the processed cheese Tim eats real cheese.

  6. Siempre es mejor comer comida sana. Te mando un beso.

  7. Z pewnością masz dużo racji w tym co piszesz.

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