Eating more ultra-processed foods may contribute to a person’s overall cognitive decline by affecting their ability to process information and make decisions, a new study has found.
“People who ate more than 20% of their daily calories from processed foods had a 28% faster rate of overall cognitive decline and a 25% faster decline in executive function compared to people who ate 20% less processed foods,” said Natalia Gonvalves, co-author of the study and Sao A researcher at the Department of Pathology at the University of Paulo’s Faculty of Medicine told CNN.
As a reference, for a person consuming 2000 calories per day, 20% equals 400 calories. This represents an order of fries with a medium cheeseburger at McDonald’s.
The findings were presented Monday at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in San Diego. The study followed 10,000 Brazilians for a decade. The average age of the participants was 51 years. Cognitive tests were performed at the beginning and end of the study.
“More studies are needed, but the new findings are very compelling and underscore the critical role of good nutrition in long-term brain health,” said Rudy Tanzi, professor of neurology at Harvard University.
Ultra-processed foods are defined by the researchers as “processed products of food ingredients (oils, fats, sugars, starches and protein isolates) that contain little or no whole food and usually contain flavors, colors, emulsifiers and other cosmetic additives. .