Does consuming ultra-processed foods increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease? science answers

When we flip a coin, we know that there is a 50% chance that it will appear facet and a 50% chance that it will be tails. This is the same feeling we feel when we are at risk of developing some diseases, including dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. Do not know whether It will be up to us or not, and appreciate that there is a high probability that one thing like the other will happen.

For better or worse, this calculation isn’t actually that simple when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists are still Don’t fully understand what is causing this condition or why evolve. It is possible, as with other disorders associated with metabolic disorders, that the causes are numerous.

In our hands to prevent it

Factors affecting its development include age-related changes in the brain, genetic and environmental conditions, and lifestyle. The significance of any of these conditions for increasing or decreasing risk may vary from person to person, but the more we accumulate, the greater our chances of suffering.

The risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease fall into two large groups: a non-modifiable group – including genetics and aging – and a modifiable group. Since we (for now) can’t do anything to alter our age and genetics, the latter is most important for disease prevention. Including diet.

series of misfortunes

In principle, the effect of what we eat depends on its effect on obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders, which in turn Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, poor nutrition increases the chances of suffering from these diseases, and the presence of them – or the risk factors associated with them – increases our chances at the same time. I touched Dementia For this reason, it has been suggested for many years Diet was closely related to Alzheimer’s risk.

Alzheimer’s disease – reference image – Photo: Getty Images

Thus, many observational studies have shown that consumption of saturated fats Across s Sugar is strongly correlated with the risk of male prevalence. Conversely, foods that protect against mediating factors also keep us away from this dementia.

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List of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory

Among them, we find vegetables, fruits, nuts and fish, mainly due to the presence of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances, such as vitamins C and E, polyphenols and omega-3 fatty acids. Likewise, consume extra virgin olive oil Associated with improvements in visual memory and verbal fluency in dementia patients. In this way, we can trick the coin into falling more times on the face of protection than on the tail of the danger.

It’s often saturated fat, sugar, or salt as well Common ingredients in ultra-processed foods, so they will be candidates to contribute to the emergence of this disease. Moreover, there is abundant scientific evidence showing that consumption of this type of product would contribute to the development of diseases that are risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

First demo guide

However, as of last July, there were no studies that directly assessed the relationship between this type of food and the onset of disease. We now have two monitoring processes, which use NOVA rating for superior processingmost famous worldwide by the scientific community.

Person feeding - reference image
Person feeding – reference photo – Photo: Getty Images

first of themUsing data from 3,632 Americans over the age of 60, it was found that 53% of their total dietary energy intake came from ultra-processed foods. In addition, the researchers found that its consumption was associated with worse verbal fluency, although it was not associated with other cognitive tests.

Second It included 72,083 participants, aged 55 or older, who did not have dementia at the start of the study. The researchers used data from the UK Biobank UK study. The main finding shows that a 10% increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods increases the risk of all types of dementia by 25% and Alzheimer’s disease by 14%.

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Waiting for new (and better) studies

This discovery is amazing and is supported by a very large sample. Nevertheless, the study has some weaknesses that deserve our attention. for example, To assess consumption of ultra-processed foods, only a 24-hour recall questionnaire, which was conducted on 4 occasions in 2 years, was used.. These questionnaires collect the foods that each individual ate the previous day. Measuring dietary intake is difficult and there is no one tool that is perfect for all settings. For this reason, it is usually recommended to combine several.

In particular, the 24-hour recall mentioned above, given its dependence on the study subject’s recent memory, Not recommended for the elderly or people under 12 years old. Thus, it is remarkable that it has been used as the only tool in research on dementia, considering that one of the main symptoms, specifically, is Difficulty remembering recent events.

In any case, despite their weaknesses, these two first studies on ultra-processed foods and Alzheimer’s point in the same direction: Consumption of these foods may be associated with deterioration in cognitive function and disease progression.

We will have to wait for more solid evidence, but if the results are confirmed, we will have another way to cheat the coin into the protection side. A very simple, but at the same time very complex method, such as reducing the presence of ultra-processed foods in our diet.

by: Javier Sanchez Perona

Senior CSIC Scientist and Associate Professor at Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Institute of Lipids (IG – CSIC)

The article was originally published in . format Conversation


Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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