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Memory decline may result from consuming highly processed meals such as chips and cold beverages: study

The consumption of highly processed foods like chips, namkeens, cold drinks, and cookies has a frightening effect on our minds, according to a recent study that was published in the journal Neurology. These processed foods may have a negative effect on memory. Eating such processed foods can lead to memory loss and a higher risk of developing dementia as a side consequence.

According to researcher Huiping Li of Tianjin Medical University in China, ‘Our research not only demonstrated that ultra-processed foods are linked to an elevated risk of dementia, but it also found replacing them with healthier options may lessen dementia risk.’ Foods that have been ultra-processed have little protein and fibre and are heavy in added sugar, fat, and salt. They include soft drinks, salty and sugary snacks, ice cream, sausage, deep-fried chicken, yogurt, canned baked beans and tomatoes, among others.

From a sizable database including the health data of half a million UK residents, the team chose 72,083 individuals for the study. At the outset of the trial, participants were 55 or older and free of dementia. They had an average of 10 years of follow-up.

The study’s conclusion revealed that 518 participants had dementia. Participants in the study completed at least two questionnaires on their eating and drinking habits the day before. By measuring the grammes per day and comparing them to the grammes per day of other foods to produce a percentage of the daily diet, researchers were able to calculate how much ultra-processed food people consumed. They then divided participants into four equal groups from the lowest percentage consumption of ultra-processed foods to the highest.

In the lowest category, ultra-processed foods made up 9% of daily diets, or 225 grammes on average, while they made up 28% of diets, or 814 grammes on average, for those in the highest group. 150 grammes constituted one serving of foods like pizza or fish sticks. Drinks were the leading food category that contributed to a high intake of ultra-processed foods, followed by sweet foods and ultra-processed dairy.


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