Ultraprocessed Foods (UPF)

These Junk Foods Shorten Your Life (18 Year Study)

by Mike Mutzel


A new analysis finds the odds of cardiovascular disease was 39% higher in people who eat high ammounts of processed foods compared to people who eat low amounts of processed foods and cancer mortality was 53% higher in people who eat ultra processed foods, a high amount of these processed foods.

For the past 60 years experts have claimed butter and red meat are clogging your arteries, causing cancer and contributing to unprecedented rates of obesity and diabetes. In actuality, ultraprocessed foods (UPF) stand as the primary culprits behind our contemporary health challenges. From sugary cereals and beverages to savory temptations like French fries, chips, crackers, baked goods, pretzels, and indulgent treats such as Ding Dongs, these food items are clogging arteries, expanding waistlines and shortening your lifespan.


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Research Cited:

Torres-Collado, L. et al. A high consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with higher total mortality in an adult Mediterranean population. Clin. Nutr. (2024) doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2024.01.014.


Episode Transcript:

And just like that, we are almost live. Welcome back to another Metabolic Monday, my friends. Today we're going to be talking about a fascinating new study that highlights the foods that you should avoid, should you want to live a long, healthy life free of chronic, non-communicable diseases like diabetes, dementia, heart disease, and cancer, which collectively comprise between 70 and 90% of all premature deaths. The title of this paper is, as you can see on the screen, a high consumption of ultra processed foods is associated with higher total mortality in an adult Mediterranean population. Now, this was an 18 year follow-up study involving 1500 subjects in Spain. Now, I think this is quite interesting because we hear a lot, don't we, about the Mediterranean diet as of late. And it turns out that the ultra processed foods that have been making North Americans, Canadians, and Americans unhealthy for many, many years are now making their way into Europe and are compromising the health of people all throughout Europe.
And I think this, although this is a nutritional epidemiology study which has its limitations and shortcomings as we will talk about today, I think it really is important because in this study they find that higher consumption of ultra processed foods are linked with higher odds of dying over this 18 year follow up period. Now again, I think this is really important because there's a big push to prevent you from having butter eggs and even pasture raised meats and healthy fish and things like that, pushing people to have more processed plant-based junk food and junk food is junk food. And it turns out that ultra processed foods are the problem, my friend. So we're going to dive into the details of this fascinating 18 year follow-up study from subjects in Spain. I just want to welcome you all back. Any questions are fair game. You know how it goes on Mondays.
If you have questions about all things nutrition, fasting, exercise, dietary supplements, you name it. I want to get to your live question shortly. If you're enjoying the content, hit that like button. I'm just going to make sure that we are on that. We are live. If you can hear me okay, let me know in the chat before we really dive into this because these studies are incredibly, incredibly fascinating. So let's get right into it, shall we? Alright, so here we go. So here's the study. Now, oh, I got to clear these layers. Lemme just clear this one. Let me clear this one and we are on my screen. So this is where I do research. I use this app called papers. If you want to download it, definitely check it out. So all my different categories of things that we're looking at. But today is, this particular paper just was published a couple days ago actually in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, part of the El Savior Journal network. Again, as I mentioned, the title is a high consumption of ultra processed foods is associated with a higher total mortality in an adult Mediterranean population. Okay? So as the scientists say, we analyze data from 1,538 participants
Speaker 2 (02:59):
Age 20 years and older. In the Valencia Nutrition survey starting in 1995, diet was assessed at baseline using a validated food frequency questionnaire and the consumption of ultra processed food calculated using the NOVA system. Alright? Now after 18 years of follow-up, we documented 312 deaths. And of these deaths, 36% were from cardiovascular disease, 25% were from cancer, okay? Compared with the participants with the lowest TER of ultra process food consumption, those in the highest tertile showed a 40% higher risk of all cause mortality. Here's the hazard ratio, 1.4. So remember when you're reading research and hearing about hazard ratio, all you do is subtract one from that, and that is the odds of an event happening compared to a group that doesn't participate in that event. So the odds of dying, for example, or having a heart attack after consuming sugar sweetened beverages is about 1.6, meaning there's a 60% higher odds that you will have a heart attack if you drink soda compared to people who do not drink soda.
Now in this particular analysis, they found that the odds of cardiovascular disease was 39% higher in people who eat processed foods compared to people who eat low amounts of processed foods. And cancer mortality was 53% higher in people who eat ultra processed foods, a high amount of these processed foods. So that is interesting. Okay, so as I mentioned, non-communicable diseases, many doctors are trained to treat communicable diseases like tuberculosis, cholera, diptheria, aids, all these different infectious diseases. A large part of medical training is focused on that, but we now know that most deaths occur from non-communicable diseases, cardiovascular disease, as I mentioned, diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer. They are responsible for between 70 and 90% of all deaths worldwide and in Spain specifically. Alright, here's more background and perspective. I just highlighted these things. I quickly just read these research articles, but I want to share with you what I think is actually quite interesting.
And again, if you think this is interesting, please hit that like button, leave a comment in the comment section. Just want to see if there is some comments coming in and they are coming in. Again, it sounds like we are doing good audio wise, which is fantastic. Okay, so some nutritional epidemiological studies. You should be aware of the Nutra net SANT study for each 10% increase in ultra processed food consumption that was associated with a 14% rise in the risk of all cause mortality over six years of follow-up similar results from the DREC cohort study in which each 10% increase in energy intake derived from ultra processed foods. These are the baked goods, crackers, pastries cakes, sugar sweetened beverages, and processed meat products was associated with a 15% rise in the all cause mortality. In the study by Blanco Rojo etal conducted in a Spanish population, individuals with the highest quartile of ultra processed food consumption and mean consumption corresponded to 42.8% of total energy intake showed a 44% higher risk of all cause mortality than those in the lowest quartile.
Okay? Now we know there's multiple other studies, all of these fine between a 28 and 53% increased risk of all cause mortality if you eat a lot of processed food. Okay, so what about here in the us? There was data from the NHANES cohort. I believe they talk about it somewhere down here. Okay, so let's go to some images right here. More facts and figures. Okay, so table two shows the main associations observed between ultrapro food consumption and all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality. A total of 312 deaths occurred during the 18 year. That seems kind of low. I mean that's pretty good actually because these people are living in Spain probably having stress-free lives, access to sun and nature and all the things. Well, it turns out that, as I mentioned, about a third of these deaths were from cardiovascular disease and 25% of these deaths were from cancer.
So big thing to consider when you want to live an optimal life and not suffer from premature morbidity or dis-ease cancer and cardiovascular disease are where you should focus your efforts. Okay? Alright, so for the discussion, this study shows that higher ultra processed food consumption is associated with higher all cause mortality in an adult Mediterranean population after an 18 year follow up. Now, as I mentioned earlier, because I just want to be very clear when we talk about nutritional epidemiological studies, we have to look at the baseline characteristics of the study participants. To be fair, we did this when Harvard recently published a study that I thought was pretty egregious blaming meat for the fact that there's this healthy user bias and unhealthy user bias in epidemiology. Well, it turns out that when we compare these different TER aisles, so we have low intake of processed foods, medium intake and high intake based upon food frequency questionnaires using the NOVA system to characterize ultra processed food.
There is a higher prevalence of smoking as well as ex-smokers in the people who consume a lot of processed food. So if you look at the rates of never smokers in the low intake of processed foods, 55% of these people never smoked. Whereas in the median intake of processed ultra processed foods, it's only about half. Now it's less than half in the high intake. So we can surmise as well, just like the Harvard study tried to claim that eating meat was going to give you diabetes. In this study we can see that eating processed foods, yes, that is a factor, but also smoking status as well as body mass index and waist circumference. So we see an unhealthy population in all facets of lifestyle here, right? Higher prevalence of smoking and obesity and all this, but they do adjust for all that. Okay? So let's go to the images here because again, everyone's saying, well, it's the meat that's killing.
You have to stop eating dairy and butter. Well, it turns out that the TER child that ate the highest amounts of processed foods have the lowest survival rates over the course of 18 years in compared to the other TER shalls. And so this is not new. We know that the junk food, we know that animal products and saturated fat have been blamed in properly for the increased consumption of junk food. That is what is killing people. It's the processed foods, the cookies, crackers, treats, chips, sugar sweetened beverages, those are the things and processed breads and so on. Those are what are causing people to live unhealthy lives and develop diseases prematurely. Okay? Cardiovascular specific mortality. Again, you can see the hazard ratios and so forth. Much higher risk for people that consume a lot of processed foods compared to people who do not. You can see this as well as cancer mortality.
Okay, so let's go down to the study conclusions that I want to get to your live questions. Okay, so in conclusion, this 18 year follow-up study shows that a high consumption of ultra processed foods may increase the risk of all across mortality in a Mediterranean population after a long follow-up period. And again, we know this to be true, my friends, this is not earth shattering news by any stretch of the imagination. We know that processed foods are the problem, but we're seeing a major push to discourage people from having butter, grass fed meat, fish. These things are purported cancer causing agents, but we have numerous epidemiological studies finding that it's really the ultra processed foods, the sugar sweetened beverages, the baked products, cookies, ice cream, donuts, those are the problems. Candy chips, microwave dinners and such. So that's the problem. And so you have these analysis here, and again, for those of you just joining, I appreciate you hitting that like button. Leave a comment in the comment section. Any nutrition related question is fair game. We're going to get to your live questions momentarily, but I just want to provide you this evidence because again, people are saying, well, it's saturated fat. That's the problem. Don't eat butter, eat the plant-based butter, but they have no problem eating Cheetos or corn chips or Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets, all
These things. Those are the problem my friends. We have ample, ample evidence to support that. Now, before we get to your live questions, just want to let you know that this live episode is brought to you by my science nutrition. This is one of the only creatine containing electrolytes out there. A lot of electrolytes only give you sodium from artificial salt brines giving you real salt, potassium, magnesium, as well as 2.6 grams of creatine. Check this out [email protected]. There's over 750 reviews from people just like yourself who are using this intra-workout, getting phenomenal results. Use the code podcast to save [email protected]. That's M-Y-O-X-C-I-E-N-C e.com. Okay, so let's hop on over to the chat, want to get to your questions. That's why we do these lives. We really just want to get to your questions and there's a theme discussion of course, with new studies and this and that, but we want to get to live questions.
Okay? So I'm just going to look at the chat, see what is coming up. Again, very grateful that you are here. How's your Monday? What's new in the world? Who's gone to the gym yet today? What are you eating for dinner? I have a slow cooker recipe that has been, we've been eating that for the past couple days. We have some grass-fed beef, some locally grown potatoes that have been deskinned, some pluck spices. All of that is what we're eating. Raw egg yolks, all the good stuff. Okay, second Street, Marvel is here, always here, which is great. Second Street, Marvel, thank you for being here. Okay, UNO Maral says, is this early mortality with complications or is it straight up you're healthy until you keel over? Well, yeah. So this study just looked at hard endpoints of death, but the comorbidity or the multimorbidity, I mean as many of you know, at least here in the US Medicare eligible individuals, so these are people over the age of 65.
They have between three and five chronic conditions. So if you eat the foods that we just talked about, the baked goods, the sugar sweetened beverages, candy, crackers, chips, microwaveable dinners, fast food, things like that, you are going to cause your body to be in a deconditioned declined state. And so you may not die tomorrow or even the next year, but you're going to develop high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, low energy obesity, and all of these problems. And so as I mentioned, 50% of the deaths in this 18 year follow-up study came from just two conditions, cardiovascular disease and cancer. And so there's a 53% higher risk of developing dying from cancer and people who consume the most processed food. So if you want to prevent cancer and heart disease, which are the two statistical reasons why people die prematurely, stop eating processed food. That's it, my friends, just cut that out.
We can quibble over the nuances of a vegan diet or vegetarian diet or carnivore diet, keto, whatever, as long as you're eating whole root foods. That's really what it all comes down to. Scott says, processed foods are very expensive. Well, here in the US they're the inputs for the processed food sugar, corn, wheat, soy are subsidized by the government, which actually makes them artificially cheaper so they can be more on a protein basis. They're more expensive. There's very little protein, high amounts of junk. So again, are we enjoying the content? Are we learning? Are we having fun? Thank you for your likes, your comments, your shares. Appreciate you forwarding this to a friend. If you find out if you think they might find this helpful. Okay, Scott McLaughlin says, eat pork, eat beef, pork, chicken, Turkey, eggs both bought raw and cooked at home. So I used to have pigs.
I'm not a huge fan of pork. Now here's why. Because pigs will eat anything. They will eat skittles. If you put Pop-Tarts in the pig pen, they will eat Pop-Tarts. A lot of pigs are fed genetically modified soy and things like that. I'm not a huge fan of pork, although I do love pigs as an animal. I think they're great for tilling and rooting the soil. If you put pigs in an area of your land where you eventually want to plant stuff, they do a great job. They're a part of the biodynamic, agricultural regenerative farming ethos. Pigs are amazing for a lot of things, but as a food source, if you're not growing them yourself or working with a farmer who's grown them commercial pork, I'm not a huge fan of that, but Scott, I generally agree with you. Eggs and beef I think are phenomenal sources of protein and healthy fats.
Commercial, I'm not really a huge fan of commercial chicken and Turkey. You know why most commercial chicken and Turkey are raised in warehouses where they never see dirt or sun. If you've ever watched chickens or turkeys, all they do is dig all day. They look for bugs, they dig, they root, they run around. They like to be right in the sun. I have 17 of these birds in my backyard, chickens, but I used to raise turkeys as well. They need to be in the sun. So if you're going to get eggs from an animal, look on the label eggs from a bird, that is you want to look for pasture raised, right friends. You don't want to be getting eggs from a chicken that has been stuck in a cage it's entire life and has never seen the light of day. Now, is that better than a candy bar?
Yeah, those eggs are probably better than a candy bar. But spend the extra dollar, invest your dollars in the chains that you want to see in the world, because I do agree with some of the activists of veganism and vegetarian diets. Most of these animals live very unhealthy lives and torturous lives, and so we don't want to financially contribute to that. So if you're able to spend a little bit more money, go to the farmer's market, work with a local person who has backyard chickens, buy eggs from them if you can, that's where things should be going in terms of health. I think we've really moved away from the slow food movement, but thankfully the pendulum is swinging back and we're getting closer to our food, which is great. Okay, comment here from Oso, just 25 smu. That's the URL handle here on YouTube. If I could eat steak every day, I would, but I'm broke. Okay? So if you're broke, a lot of people have financial issues. I understand it's tough times the economy, a lot of inflation and all this. Get some ground beef from Grocery Outlet or Walmart and try to get pasture raised if you can. That's what I would suggest. I think on a pound per pound basis, you can do really well in terms of red meat in that way. Ground the 80 20 or 90 10 ground. Okay?
Alright, Michael Mahler says, all disease is autoimmune, meaning your body failing to have the necessary nutrients to build and maintain a healthy body. Metabolic health matters. I couldn't agree with you more. Metabolic health absolutely matters. Really important that we acknowledge and recognize that metabolic health matters for many different conditions. I mean for seemingly conditions that are not directly tethered to metabolism, such as depression, anxiety, mental health issues, metabolic health, as you now know from Chris Palmer and many others, Martha Herbert has been talking about this for a long time, that metabolic health matters for the brain, for memory, for cognition.
But I would Michael, slightly disagree that not all diseases are inherently autoimmune, but I do think there is a lot of autoimmune like metabolic and immunologic signaling going on, especially when it comes to say, cardiovascular disease. We focus on the lipids, but not the immune system. The overstimulated, chronic, smoldering, low grade inflammation that is causing the occlusion and narrowing of these very small vessels in the heart, known as the coronary arteries. Okay? Alright. Tater flaps says, I used to feed my girlfriend's pig ham, so I think he's saying his girlfriend had pigs and he would feed them ham. Yeah, so pigs will eat anything. I'm not discouraging you from ever having pork again, I'm not saying that, but when in doubt, aim for the heritage pork or even wild hogs. If you live in the south or California or things like that where there's hogs running around, rooting eating vegetables and stuff.
The meat looks so much different compared to the hogs that you get at the grocery store or the pigs. Okay, Ken Wang says, we're all very sad right now. Yeah, we are all very sad and we are also all, many of us have metabolic issues, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and all of that. So yeah, very interesting connection here. We can't discount social isolation and loneliness and screen time and all these major problems as well. Okay, Rona says, my understanding is that elevated insulin levels, is that precursor to heart disease type two diabetes and et cetera. Are there any studies available to print out and take to my physician the next time? You know what, I'm going to pin this comment. This is a really, really good message. Maybe we'll do this next Monday. Lemme know by hitting that like button, we can review all of the large dossier of literature suggesting that in insulin resistance is actually the underlying driving factor for cardiovascular disease.
In fact, I just did a great interview with Dr. Veia all about the underlying, or he's, by the way, a cardiovascular surgeon who's doing open heart surgery and things like that for people who are younger and younger. Some of his patients are in their thirties and having issues with their valves and coronary artery disease and the like. So again, for those of you just tuning in, what we're going to do is just quickly recap where we are, what we've been talking about. We've been talking about the fact that many people are erroneously blaming animal products, butter and saturated fat for cardiovascular disease and cancer. But it turns out that it's the ultra processed foods that are increasing the risk of these aforementioned diseases, cardiovascular disease and cancer. So this is an 18 year follow-up study involving over 1500 participants that were over the age of 20 and after 18 years of follow-up, 50% of the deaths were from just two conditions, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
And comparing the people who consume the lowest amounts of processed foods compared to the highest amounts of processed foods. There is a 40% higher risk of all cause mortality and a 39% higher risk of cardiovascular specific mortality and a 53% higher risk of cancer mortality. Now, this study that was conducted in Spain corroborates with many other nutrition studies in Europe, including Thera net Sant study finding for each 10% increased risk in ultra processed food consumption that is associated with a 14% rise in all cause mortality over a six year follow-up study. And same with the DRE study, the D-R-E-C-E cohort study, I can't remember what that acronym stands for, is finding a similar rise for every 10% increase in ultra processed food. So what does a 10% increase mean? Well, maybe you have one meal every day that's ultra processed food like going to Chick-fil-A and having chicken nuggets and french fries and a soda for lunch, for example.
That increases your risk of dying over the course of a five year period, which is not good. And I say this, I pick on Chick-fil-A, because you see the Chick-fil-A line everywhere you go, it's just wrapped around city blocks. It's just absolutely insane. So what we've been looking at here is the Cox ratios and hazard models finding that the odds of you living 20 more years if you're consuming a lot of junk food, processed foods, again, packaged foods, baked goods, sugar sweetened beverages, soda, french fries, and so on, your odds of dying making it 20 years are really quite low compared to people who don't eat that stuff again. So it's not butter, it's not bacon necessarily, it's the ultra processed foods that are the problem. Again, just a quick plug Today show is brought to you by our sister company, myo Science Nutrition, the only creatine, contending electrolyte featuring real salt. You get 2.6 grams of creatine along with healthy minerals and electrolytes that help you crush your next workout. You can save with the code podcast at checkout [email protected]. Okay, my friends, wow, we have a good turnout tonight, which is great. Again, appreciate your likes, your comments, your shares. All right, what else do we have? I, okay, and Elise Scott is ordering her Oreos or gluten-free organic Oreos. Yeah. Isn't that funny that Nick Noritz is doing some interesting work out of Harvard, which is great.
Anthony has a great comment. This paper is an argument for cycling on and off ketosis. Anthony, I don't know if we can ascertain whether or not this paper supports cycling keto or not. I do think there is some benefits, especially if you're an athlete for possibly cycling in and out of ketosis. But I think this paper just highlights that we shouldn't be eating junk food. That's what it suggests to me is junk food is bad, it's bad for your body, it's bad for preventing cancer and heart disease, which are the two most probable reasons why all of us will leave this world before we really want to. So if you want to live a long healthy life, just don't eat the junk food. It's that simple. Alright, we have a super chat from Rob. Rob says, Oreos have glyphosate from Roundup published last week. Rob, thank you for that.
Most processed food has Roundup. This is something that a video I've been working on, I think that's part of the previously or hither two unrecognized aspects and harms of junk food is it's loaded with chemicals. Shocking. I know, but it turns out that Roundup is one of those chemicals that are probably not good for you, especially your microbiome. Okay. So yeah, I am with you all that on that. Okay. Mr. Pineapple has a real question here. Okay. Do we know the content of Oreo cookies causes this effect and plus what other natural food items have this effect or effectiveness? Alright, so I just want to clarify. Oreo cookies have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol in a lean mass hyper responder who's been on a ketogenic diet for four and a half years. No one is necessarily prescribing Oreo cookie treatment to lower cholesterol. It was just an egregious case study to show that processed foods in someone who is really fat adapted after eating a very low carb diet for a number of years decreases LDL cholesterol.
So please, if your LDL is high, don't start eating Oreo cookies. That's not what that study is to show. It's to show that in people who are a lean mass hyper responder, meaning they have low triglycerides, but high HDL cholesterol as well as high LDL cholesterol, that in that sub type of the population, their LDL cholesterol is increasing to add more free fatty acids to the metabolically demanding tissues of the body. And that phenotype can be reversed by increasing consumption of carbohydrates that would decrease the necessity or reliance upon fats for fuel. That's all it is to show. Nick Noritz and Dave Feldman have done a good job with that. Okay, so friends, again, this was a really fun live session. I'm so grateful that you were still here. Appreciate your likes and your comments, your shares. Next week we're going to talk about insulin and dive into, there's a great comment from a gal, I can't remember her handle right now. She said, I need to print out studies to show my doctor that insulin is the problem, not cholesterol. So we're going to focus on that next week. So if you like that idea, hit that like button. Tune in next Monday at five 15. We will dive into that, my friend. So grateful that you're here. Thanks for sharing this video with a friend who may benefit and we will catch you on a future show down the road. Have an awesome evening in.

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