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Ultra-Processed Food Raises Risk Of Heart Attack And Stroke


Ultra-processed food significantly raises the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, according to two studies that one expert says should serve as a wake-up call for governments worldwide.


The consumption of ultra-processed foods has increased markedly during recent decades. In countries such as the United States, Canada and the UK, such foods now account for over 60 percent of the average adult’s diet. Significantly, they are also associated with younger age, lower income and educational level, living alone, higher body mass index (BMI), and taking less exercise.

The problem is not solely confined to the Western world, however. Over the past two decades, the fast-food industry and obesity rates have grown rapidly in China. Research shows that over one-third of Chinese adults are now overweight or obese. In major Chinese cities, such as Beijing or Shanghai, the problem is even worse. In such areas, more than half of the adult population is now overweight.

Obesity and overweight are also growing problems on the African continent. In South Africa, research suggests that over 29 percent of men and more than 56 percent of women are overweight or obese. In Nigeria, the prevalence of overweight and obese people is similarly of epidemic proportions. Research suggests that up to 35 percent of Nigerians are overweight, with up to 22 percent being obese.

To read about research showing that consumption of ultra-processed foods increases the risk of an early death, see this article on our website.