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Processed Foods Are Driving Up Cancer Risk


A major study has found that eating processed foods significantly raises the risk of cancer. It has been confirmed that in the UK, more than half of the average person’s diet is made up from the consumption of ‘ultra-processed’ foods – this is any product created using an industrial procedure.

Research has shown that 50.7% of food sold in the UK is ultra-processed, this is in stark comparison to just 14.2% sold in France.

The British Medical Journal has stated that more people are now dying from cancer, and this is due to our increases consumption of processed foods.

The processed foods and drinks include:

  • Fizzy drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Sweets
  • Mass-produced bread
  • Margarine
  • Biscuits
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Energy bars
  • Energy drinks
  • Flavoured milk
  • Ready meal with ready-made sauces
  • Powdered slimming products
  • Pre-prepared pies
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Reconstituted meat products i.e. sausages
  • Powdered soup


This recent study has stated that the more processed food we eat, the higher our risk of developing cancer of any type. Researchers believe that this is because highly processed foods such as biscuits, sweets and packaged meat contain high levels of fat, salt and sugar and little to nothing in the way of fibre and vitamins. Chemicals and additives are also commonly added to processed foods in order to increase their shelf life; these have also been shown to increase the risk of cancer development.

The study, which followed the food consumption of 105,000 adults could confirm that the top quarter of participants consumed 32% of their diet through ultra-processed food. This made them 23% more likely to develop cancer over the next five years in comparison to the bottom quarter of participants whom made up 8% of their diet with processed foods. It was also found that women in this top quarter of consumers were 38% more likely to develop postmenopausal breast cancer.


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