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Medicine Science

Ultra-Processed Foods May Be Linked To Cancer, Says Study (theguardian.com) 322

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Ultra-processed" foods, made in factories with ingredients unknown to the domestic kitchen, may be linked to cancer, according to a large and groundbreaking study. Ultra-processed foods include pot noodles, shelf-stable ready meals, cakes and confectionery which contain long lists of additives, preservatives, flavorings and colorings -- as well as often high levels of sugar, fat and salt. They now account for half of all the food bought by families eating at home in the UK, as the Guardian recently revealed. A team, led by researchers based at the Sorbonne in Paris, looked at the medical records and eating habits of nearly 105,000 adults who are part of the French NutriNet-Sante cohort study, registering their usual intake of 3,300 different food items. They found that a 10% increase in the amount of ultra-processed foods in the diet was linked to a 12% increase in cancers of some kind. The researchers also looked to see whether there were increases in specific types of cancer and found a rise of 11% in breast cancer, although no significant upturn in colorectal or prostate cancer. "If confirmed in other populations and settings, these results suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades," says the paper in the British Medical Journal.
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Ultra-Processed Foods May Be Linked To Cancer, Says Study

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  • Compared to.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Templer421 ( 4988421 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @11:38PM (#56126496)

    Deaths from Botulism or food poisoning like Cholera?

    The trade off is living long enough to get cancer.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or option 3, each normal food.

      It's not potnoodle OR botulism, as if they're the only choices.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @12:20AM (#56126632)
      Can't I just say no to Botulism _and_ cancer?
      • You've got to kill the botulinum somehow... if you don't use chemicals/salt/sugar then you'll use heat. Did the heat turn the food into carcinogenic chemicals or degrade its nutritive properties?
    • I assume you're talking specifically about nitrites/nitrates. As far as I've read, you're correct. Botulism is a more serious risk than the risk of nitrate induced cancer. Nitrates are the only effective way to stop preserved meat from outright killing people sometimes.

      The real problem is there's some worthless bastards out there when it comes to keeping consumers from knowing how processed a particular food is. "These beef stikxz have no nitrates! Except those in celery powder. Everyone knows celery is hea

      • Spoilage alert: Celery powder contains MANY MANY nitrates. The correct solution is, unfortunately, "Don't eat any processed meat. Ever. Even though it's absolutely delicious. If they say it doesn't have nitrates, they're trying to trick you."

        Sounds more like the correct solution is "don't eat celery". The vegans are gonna shit a brick.

    • Re:Compared to.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @01:30AM (#56126796)

      Meat that has been smoked (or cooked over an open flame) or cured with nitrites are well-known risk factors for stomach cancer and colorectal cancer.

      Modern meat processing is now so clean and safe that nitrite is not needed to prevent botulism. In practice its only purpose is to give meat the reddish colour that consumers have got used to. The meat-processing industry claims that meat with a greyish colour does not sell.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You are exactly correct on all points. Botulinium toxin can occur but only at USFDA-fail plants or uninspected facilities. In England they don't even have to refridge their eggs because they eliminated E.Coli and other things AT THE FARM.
        It's a paradigm shift needed. There are ways to do these things properly without poisons that we know cause problems. Yet "the old ways" continue because we rely on business systems rather than best practices in our standards now.

        • On the eggs thing, that is completely false. I don't know if you meant it jokingly but in case others think it is real... you cant eliminate e-coli... without killing off the chicken.

          Eggs are heavily cleaned in the US. This makes them smooth and "Disney perfect" eggy. EU... regulations don't allow eggs to be cleaned. Because there is a protective natural coating that prevents the e-coli and other nasties from the parent's waste from getting in.

          In the US, the entire supply chain from post clean to shopping

          • He's probably confusing it with this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          • Re: Compared to.... (Score:5, Informative)

            by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @08:00AM (#56127594) Journal

            US eggs don't last longer.
            The e-coli outside on the shells have absolutely nothing to do with the life period of eggs.
            If at all, e-coli or other bacteria that get into the egg are the problem. And inn this regard then american way of washing is counter productive as it encourages migration of microbes through the shell.

            On the other hand, the white of the egg is alkaline, bacteria usually don't survive this. Only in rare cases they manage to reach the yolk. In the yolk they strife so quickly that an "rotten egg" is immediately recognized.

            Eggs last easy half a year or longer, in stable conditions. However they dry out.

            Since the EU doesn't want to regulate to that level ($$),
            Sorry, you are completely mistaken: we have the exact same regulation, with the exact opposite wording: it is forbidden to wash eggs because of the automated washing processes that would rub the bacteria into the shell. And using hot water and even detergents on the outside would reduce the shelf life of the eggs.

            • If at all, e-coli or other bacteria that get into the egg are the problem. And inn this regard then american way of washing is counter productive as it encourages migration of microbes through the shell.

              It discourages cross-contamination, though, which is the source of virtually all food-borne pathogens.

          • Not sterile (Score:5, Insightful)

            by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @08:28AM (#56127670)

            Eggs are heavily cleaned in the US.

            This is true and not necessarily a good thing. It's also arguably unnecessary [npr.org] if you design the supply chain properly. As evidence see how eggs are handled in other countries without the same amount of washing. Most places in the world do not bother with the expensive cleaning and refrigeration systems the US supply chain requires.

            In the US, the entire supply chain from post clean to shopping cart has to be germ free.

            Not even remotely true and not possible either. The supply chain does have safe food handling regulations including cleaning and refrigeration and testing but safe handling does not equal germ free. If it was germ free it would be FAR more expensive.

            Now the US egg lasts a lot longer because it's been sterilized and sits in a sterile environment.

            A) They aren't sterilized. Some (but not all) eggs are pasteurized [thespruce.com] which isn't the same thing. Those that aren't are cleaned but nothing remotely close to sterile.

            B) Eggs are most certainly not stored in a sterile environment nor are they handled in a sterile manner in most of the supply chain. Especially once they reach the grocery store. People open literally almost every egg carton to ensure no breakage prior to purchase so they are a LONG way from sterile by the time you get your hands on them.

            C) Eggs in the US demonstrably do not last longer and because of how they are processed they have to be refrigerated which is not required other places. I own chickens and eggs that aren't cleaned (which removes the protective coatings) actually can sit on a counter for weeks without ill effect even without refrigeration. US eggs are refrigerated which makes a difference but you can refrigerate uncleaned eggs too and get the same effect. Once you refrigerate an egg though it has to stay refrigerated until you use it.

    • Re:Compared to.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by bjwest ( 14070 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @02:04AM (#56126868)
      They're talking about ultra-processed foods, not ultra-pasteurized. Crap like all the different preservatives and emulsifiers they put in just about everything nowadays. Pasteurization is nothing more than heating to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time, something that kills both harmful and beneficial bacteria.
      • Pasteurization is nothing more than heating to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time, something that kills both harmful and beneficial bacteria.

        Yeah, you might want to look up the meaning of "processed". Yes, in includes pasteurisation. It includes pretty much anything you do to food, other than moving it around.

    • Re:Compared to.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @04:52AM (#56127186)

      Deaths from Botulism

      You don't need to process food with a laundry list of chemicals to prevent this. Simply cooking it will do.

  • by fred911 ( 83970 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @11:41PM (#56126510)

    Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

  • by schematix ( 533634 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @11:44PM (#56126512) Homepage
    Useless conclusion.... Is it the ingredients in 'ultra processed' foods that cause cancer, or overall poor lifestyle choices made my the types of people who consume a lot of this type of food? Or maybe something else all together?
    • Good question (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rsilvergun ( 571051 )
      except you've loaded your post with a remark questioning the moral character ("lifestyle choices") of the people who rely on over processed food. I'm not even sure you know you're doing it. But it's basically dismissing the issue by claiming its the fault of the person impacted. The same logic was used against smokers while cigarette companies were hiding the dangers involved. Again, don't take this the wrong way. You might not even realize the message you're conveying, but if you don't then, well, you do n
      • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

        Moreover, there's tons of evidence these chemicals are bad for you.

        Everything is bad for you in the correct dose. Most vitamins and minerals your body needs to function are toxic in high doses. The question isn't if they are bad for you, the question is if they have some sort of negative impact on your health in low doses.

        The overwhelming evidence for the majority of additives and preservatives is that they are safe in the levels found in processed foods.

        You can choose to deny this evidence, or believe some health guru when he pulls out one (shoddy) study that shows some p

      • Re:Good question (Score:4, Insightful)

        by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @01:31AM (#56126798)

        So, you are saying that at the same time there is TONS of evidence that these foods are bad for you (with the associated implication that everyone should know that), while simultaneously claiming that no one should be able to question the "lifestyle choices" of people eating those foods...
        I can only assume then that you think these people are making an informed decision to eat food they know is bad for them, and therefore you are implying they are stupid.
        Thats rather judgemental of you, dont you think?

        Then of course there is your use of "rely" as if these people are incapable of enough life control to eat other food..

        Your complete logic-fail of trying to link something you claim is common knowledge to something that you claim was behind actively hidden is rather special however.

        I think that perhaps you are the one who doesnt realise what message you are conveying, or perhaps you do realise that the message is 'rsilvergun is an idiot'?

        • Cowards (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Some people miss the point. While they're busy cowering in fear of everything that can give them cancer, cowardly people think that to live the LONGEST life is and should be the goal of every person, and not making sure to enjoy life. Pussies worry about making it last as long as humanly possible might think they're enjoying life. OTHER people, incomprehensibly to the weak, actually LIVE and enjoy life, and aren't giving themselves stomach ulcers worrying about how many seconds they have left to live. T

        • they're making the best choices they _can_ make in the context of their lives. Low pay, long hours and constant stress puts them in a position where these foods are a logical and reasonable choice.

          The message I'm conveying is that the working class, particularly the working poor, are being set up to fail. We're doing terrible things to them for the sake of profit and using the phrase 'lifestyle choices' to push the blame onto them so that when our empathic response kicks in we can tamp down on it and k
      • except you've loaded your post with a remark questioning the moral character ("lifestyle choices") of the people who rely on over processed food.

        He didn't load anything. You're arguing as if he only specified the "lifestyle choices" explanation. He didn't. He gave three possible explanations based on the correlation that was found. That the processed food caused the cancer. That the lifestyles of the people who tended to get cancer also encouraged eating processed foods. Or some other relationship.

      • The same logic was used against smokers while cigarette companies were hiding the dangers involved.
        but you do know that this was an american thing ... in the rest of the world everyone knew that smoking gives you a high cancer risk, particular lung cancer and circulation problems, particular smoker's legs etc.

    • That's why it's important that there weren't upticks in all kinds of cancers. Diet, exercise, clean air, and stress management generally decrease all cancers. Something is probably going on; too soon to tell what though.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        What makes this curious, at least in my mind, is that breast cancer and prostate cancer risk are actually somewhat correlated with each other familially. A marked increased risk in breast cancer with no effect on prostate cancer, therefore, sounds a bit suspicious to me. It isn't impossible or anything, given that breast tissue is mostly fat, and thus has the potential for storing fat-soluble contaminants in ways that the prostate really doesn't, but it still seems... odd. I'll be curious to see whether

        • What makes this curious, at least in my mind, is that breast cancer and prostate cancer risk are actually somewhat correlated with each other familially.
          You are mistaken. Breast cancer affects mainly women and prostate cancer mainly men ...

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      Lifestyle choices? In the real world people eat things that they have money for, have time to prepare etc. Often people are living stressful lives eating cheap easily prepared food not by choice but of necessity.

      I absolutely hate that phrase as it is disconnected from realty and in most cases are used in a judgmental way. Drug abuse is a lifestyle choice, being a homosexual is a lifestyle choice, working two jobs to feed the family is a lifestyle choice etc.

      However with that (huge) reservation I fully agree

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      According to TFP they used data from over 100,000 people, and adjusted for various factors such as the nutritional quality of the food.

  • Cooking is hard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @11:45PM (#56126518)
    it is. I mean that. Especially if you live in a cheap apartment with a crappy kitchen. I do, and I cook most of my meals and it sucks. Your stove takes forever to heat up. Your burners don't heat evenly so you have to set them and let the pans hit for 10-15 minutes or your food cooks unevenly. The stove never stays level either. Your microwave is cheap and your fridge small. Your freezer smaller

    If I make a meal of eggs, potatoes & some pancakes from scratch (minus the pancake mix, which is pre made) I need to plan on a little over an hour. 10-15 minutes to heat the pans. 5 minutes to mix the pancake batter (you can't mix it until just before you use it or it screws up the pancake texture). 15 minutes to cook the pancakes (one at a time, since I only have 1 full sized burner) 5 to cook the eggs (I'm not a good cook, so if I try to juggle the eggs and pancakes I burn one or the other) meanwhile the potatoes are cooking for about 30 minutes while being flipped periodically. Then I need to sit down and eat (15-20 minutes) and then clean up (10 minutes). Of course, I have to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour to clean since the pans need to cool or they'll warp. And you can't leave the pans sitting around, especially in an apartment. You'll get roaches. Lots of them. And ants.

    Then there's the cost of fresh food. If it's not on sale it's expensive. If it is on sale it's about to go bad. You can freeze meat, but vegetables & fruits don't freeze well (fruit it tolerable in smoothies but nothing else). Packaged dinners are a great buy because they keep for months. I can buy them when they're on sale, stock up and save. I can't do that with Bananas. They're worm food in 5 days tops.

    There's a reason why women used to be home bound. Food preparation was a full time job. As pay decreases [google.com] they moved into the workforce [amazon.com] largely to make up the difference. Processed foods made that possible. But wages keep going down [google.com]. So we need foods that need less and less prep time and cost less and less. There are consequences.
    • Re:Cooking is hard (Score:5, Insightful)

      by another_twilight ( 585366 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @12:43AM (#56126678)

      I can understand your frustration, and if you're frustrated at something, you're less likely to spend time getting better at it. Working with poor tools is frustrating.

      Buy a decent pan with a thick bottom, the thicker the better. It will take longer to heat, but it will also provide a more even and consistent heat as the mass helps 'smooth' fluctuations or uneveness and 'hot spots' in your heat source. It will take some of the need to micromanage cooking out of your process. You'd be surprised how much better you'll cook when your pan is an even, consistent temperature. You'll start to get a feel for how long things take and not have to constantly check. (You mention warping and uneven heating, so I assume you're talking about relatively thin pans)

      I'd recommend all stainless with rivetted handle(s) and maybe go with a saute pan rather than a fry pan. All stainless means you can cook with it in the oven. Rivets tend to last longer than spot welding. Keep an eye on 2nd hand sales. Decent cookware is expensive, but tends to last long enough to be used and sold.

      If you really can't prep while your pan is heating, then it's free time. Time to wind down and get ready to eat. Maybe catch up on some reading.
      You've mentioned a meal with some fairly serial processes. Are there meals that better suit your cooking conditions? Finding new foods is part of the joy (for me) of cooking. I also clean as I go. There's always a minute here or there where I can wipe or rinse. You mention needing to leave the pans to cool for 30 minutes, but they are cooling as you eat and by the time you're done and ready to wash the dishes you've eaten on, the cooking gear is cool enough to wash.

      If an hour for a meal is more than you can afford (and given commute and other time costs, I understand it can be) then maybe looking at meals you can freeze and/or store. Cooking more than one serving at a time doesn't increase time linearly. You mention packaged dinners - DIY it with a stew or pasta sauce or something similar once a week. Cut them with fresh meals for variety. Make things that can act as the basis of other meals - like meat sauces for pasta.

      Like many things, especially DIY, initially the difference between what you can make and something you can have made is disappointing. Knowing that it's healthier doesn't help, and cheaper isn't always the case once you also count time. It takes time to get to the point where you're producing food that's better than you can easily buy. Like anything else, you'll have to work out if the time to get better is worth it. For something as basic and so integrally linked to health as cooking, I think it is. YMMV

      • Buy a decent pan with a thick bottom, the thicker the better. It will take longer to heat, but it will also provide a more even and consistent heat as the mass helps 'smooth' fluctuations or uneveness and 'hot spots' in your heat source.

        Cast Iron is your friend. Big, solid, sturdy pans that keep their heat well even if you have to take them off the burner before everything's done cooking. Get them properly seasoned and never wash them with soap, and they'll last a lifetime.
        • by m00sh ( 2538182 )

          Buy a decent pan with a thick bottom, the thicker the better. It will take longer to heat, but it will also provide a more even and consistent heat as the mass helps 'smooth' fluctuations or uneveness and 'hot spots' in your heat source. Cast Iron is your friend. Big, solid, sturdy pans that keep their heat well even if you have to take them off the burner before everything's done cooking. Get them properly seasoned and never wash them with soap, and they'll last a lifetime.

          I prefer enameled dutch ovens.

          You can't really wash the cast iron and it is very porous. So, it will absorb things like spices and all your meals start tasting like the meals before.

          A joke is that if you cook fish in a cast iron pan, then it becomes your fish pan forever. Many meals afterwards will have that fishy flavor.



          • That's why you have to season them. It creates a layer of protection that keeps them from rusting, as long as you don't use soap, which will remove at least part of it. Enameled dutch ovens are good to, of course, but cast iron's always been my favorite.
      • Stainless is hard to clean. Probably because I live in a place with water so hard soap barely lathers but my stainless all stains. I have caste iron and good quality non stick pans. They help some but there are limits to what they can do.

        It's not free time because in the back of my head I'm waiting for a hot pan. I need to keep an eye on it. I suppose I'm more than a bit neurotic in that regard, be even if I wasn't 15 minutes isn't enough time to relax.

        The trouble with freezing is a) I'm already a
    • A microwave helps to at least make easy side vegetables. Take green beans for instance. They go well with many other dishes, which may or may not be preprocessed.

      Drain a can and pour it into a container. Place less than a tablespoon of butter on top. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Microwave 2 minutes on high. Stir and serve.

    • Cooking isn't that hard, you just need to put some more practice and try beginner friendly recipes. Stir frys, soups, salads, curries, and many baked dishes are healthy, require very little skill, and cheap equipment will work fine. Get some good oil with a high smoke point (avocado oil works great) for extra "user friendly" cooking.
    • by m00sh ( 2538182 )

      it is. I mean that. Especially if you live in a cheap apartment with a crappy kitchen. I do, and I cook most of my meals and it sucks. Your stove takes forever to heat up. Your burners don't heat evenly so you have to set them and let the pans hit for 10-15 minutes or your food cooks unevenly. The stove never stays level either. Your microwave is cheap and your fridge small. Your freezer smaller If I make a meal of eggs, potatoes & some pancakes from scratch (minus the pancake mix, which is pre made) I need to plan on a little over an hour. 10-15 minutes to heat the pans. 5 minutes to mix the pancake batter (you can't mix it until just before you use it or it screws up the pancake texture). 15 minutes to cook the pancakes (one at a time, since I only have 1 full sized burner) 5 to cook the eggs (I'm not a good cook, so if I try to juggle the eggs and pancakes I burn one or the other) meanwhile the potatoes are cooking for about 30 minutes while being flipped periodically. Then I need to sit down and eat (15-20 minutes) and then clean up (10 minutes). Of course, I have to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour to clean since the pans need to cool or they'll warp. And you can't leave the pans sitting around, especially in an apartment. You'll get roaches. Lots of them. And ants. Then there's the cost of fresh food. If it's not on sale it's expensive. If it is on sale it's about to go bad. You can freeze meat, but vegetables & fruits don't freeze well (fruit it tolerable in smoothies but nothing else). Packaged dinners are a great buy because they keep for months. I can buy them when they're on sale, stock up and save. I can't do that with Bananas. They're worm food in 5 days tops. There's a reason why women used to be home bound. Food preparation was a full time job. As pay decreases [google.com] they moved into the workforce [amazon.com] largely to make up the difference. Processed foods made that possible. But wages keep going down [google.com]. So we need foods that need less and less prep time and cost less and less. There are consequences.

      You can get induction countertop stoves. They work really well and it heats up so fast that it actually throws off the rhythms of some quite experienced cooks.

      I now try to batch cook and make meals that will last a few days. So I don't have to cook everyday or don't have to grab something unhealthy. Huge dutch ovens or the large pressure cookers are great for that.

      Rest, exercise and cooked food are something that should never be skipped. Without your health, everything else is meaningless.

    • Cooking is hard, but it is also something that is easily learnt. However you seem to be battling with some exceptionally crappy equipment. That is a problem for some but certainly doesn't cover the >50% of families in the UK figure that is in the summary.

      In 40 minutes I could whip up a phenomenal meal. For a long time I used to make bacon and egg crepes every single day for breakfast. That took me less than 15min including making the crepe batter from scratch.

      I can only suggest that you counter some of t

    • You poor thing. Here you go.
      1/4 cup low gluten flour
      1/4 cup huskless (white) buckwheat flour
      1/4 t cream of tartar
      1/2 t sodium carbonate
      mix thoroughly
      1 egg
      1/4 cup milk or yogurt
      1/4 cup water
      mix lightly

    • by dwpro ( 520418 )
      If you're a pancake fan get an electric griddle at a thrift store. Good for several other dishes as well. Sometimes you need the right tool.
    • Especially if you live in a cheap apartment with a crappy kitchen. I do

      Be more awesome and you could have a better apartment with a better kitchen.

      If you were an awesome independent contractor like cayenne8 you could even claim it as a business expense if you cook in the same decade as you work.

    • it is. I mean that. Especially if you live in a cheap apartment with a crappy kitchen.

      It sounds more like your kitchen sucks. Can you buy a kettle or a second plug in burner? What about an electric frypan? or a pizza cooker, a second microwave? A vegetable steamer, a slow cooker? A press grill? You've got some options.

      I do, and I cook most of my meals and it sucks. Your stove takes forever to heat up. Your burners don't heat evenly so you have to set them and let the pans hit for 10-15 minutes or your food cooks unevenly. The stove never stays level either. Your microwave is cheap and your fridge small. Your freezer smaller

      It's a shame to hear, I truly find cooking to be one of the great joys in life. It de-stresses you and you can crank up some music while you do it. A crappy kitchen does make it hard but not impossible.

      I'm guessing you live in a city and space is a premium. Setting up a

    • Of course, I have to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour to clean since the pans need to cool or they'll warp.

      I've never had that happen, even with lightweight stuff designed for camping.

      Your burners don't heat evenly

      Have you tried cleaning the jets? Just had this (only getting a tiny flame on a quarter of the main burner) and there was a little speck of gunge partially blocking one of the crenellations[1]. Guessing she boiled over the coffee again.

      [1] Or to use the correct technical term, "them things

    • Honestly making suggestions.

      Get a griddle and then make tablespoon pancakes (3-4 inches), they freeze well and heat well in the microwave.

      Then there is this little miracle that we discovered last year, a breakfast sandwich maker:
      https://www.amazon.com/Hamilto... [amazon.com]

      And it can make many things other than breakfast. And those pancakes I described, they can be the bread (which is awesome).

      You are correct though, if we are having proper dinner (grilling some steak/burgers/chicken) and fresh vegetables, an hour is

  • I'm ambivalent (Score:4, Informative)

    by Presence Eternal ( 56763 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @11:48PM (#56126528)

    I liked that the article talked about the term "ultra-processed" and the pros and cons of using it. On the one hand, it's fairly well established that many forms of processing are harmful, and having degrees of processing as a broad category might be useful. By using an umbrella term like that, you can avoid many of the problems with bullshit statistical studies: "Green M&M's are 95% likely to cause cancer."

    On the other hand...this is basically a "common knowledge" study which serves no purpose and tells me nothing at all. Gee, "Hungry Man Salisbury Steak" dinners are bad for me? Shocking. I'm fucking stunned by your scientific revelation. Which parts of the processing are most harmful? Should I skip that damned brownie that never cooks properly? Are ensure or soylent "ultra processed?" Oh, you don't know? Thanks for nothing.

    https://xkcd.com/882/ [xkcd.com]

    • Re:I'm ambivalent (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dfm3 ( 830843 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @07:36AM (#56127524) Journal

      On the other hand...this is basically a "common knowledge" study which serves no purpose and tells me nothing at all.

      Welcome to science. A vast majority of research takes place simply to collect additional data to test a hypothesis... very few "groundbreaking" discoveries in a given field are made on a daily basis, and those that do happen must then be further tested with repeatable, verifiable experiments before they can be considered more than just a statistical anomaly.

      Nearly everything that we consider "common knowledge" was once not so, and had to be backed by the weight of scientific evidence observed over a vast number of experiments. For example, less than a century ago, smoking and red meat were considered healthy, but now it's common knowledge that we know better. It's because of the hard work of many, many scientists that we now know this, but you never hear about the countless hours of labor that the research takes, or the endless experiments that have to be repeated simply to verify that the results are consistent. You do read about the "breakthrough" stuff in the news quite often, but there are two reasons why: 1) there are so many different fields of scientific research going on simultaneously, and 2) many news outlets jump the gun by using a single publication as the basis for an article about how "a scientific study suggests!" before the experimental results can be verified through repetition by other scientists.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2018 @11:52PM (#56126540)

    After you’re dead, your family doesn’t have to rush as much to make sure you’re buried before you start to decompose.

  • NA beer, Decaffeinated coffee and teas?

    I usually buy fresh vegetables and fruits. Farm markets when in season. I don't each much beef, except when I make tacos.

    I spend about $2 a meal.

    • Modern decaffeination is done with super-critical CO2. It's effective and doesn't alter the quality of the food. That's the point of using it; it doesn't ruin the flavor or texture of the beans/leaves. Contrast this with, say, orange juice, where they have to add in "flavor packs" after processing.

  • Tofu is ultra-processed. Does it cause issues as well?

  • That is unfortunately a fact. The only sure protection against cancer is being dead.

    Also, this much more reads like "too much sugar and salt is linked to cancer". Personally, I cannot, for example, buy sweet baked goods (far too much sugar for my taste) and lots of processed foods have too much salt for my taste. Yet these high levels seem to be what people want.

  • It's how being on food stamps makes you much more likely to become a criminal.

  • If a man (or a woman) works in say a mine, eight hour a day, with a heavy hammer, then he can eat about anything he wants.

    But it is very different for an office worker. The problem is that we engineered out the physical movement from our lives. And any food becomes dangerous in such circumstances.

    The best way to deal with it is to widen sidewalks, build bicycle trails, nice stairs in buildings, etc. So that we can start move again regularly.
    • If a man (or a woman) works in say a mine, eight hour a day, with a heavy hammer, then he can eat about anything he wants.

      Putting aside the "healthy" mining job for a moment, no they cannot merely eat anything they want. That may maintain one's weight, but weight is not the only metric when measuring ones overall health and risk of cancer.

      But it is very different for an office worker. The problem is that we engineered out the physical movement from our lives. And any food becomes dangerous in such circumstances. The best way to deal with it is to widen sidewalks, build bicycle trails, nice stairs in buildings, etc. So that we can start move again regularly.

      If an active lifestyle would actually enable you to exercise the risk of cancer away, we wouldn't hear of people getting cancer in countries where most citizens are active, and do not suffer from an obesity epidemic. This is not the case, and reducing or eliminating the risk of cancer start

      • by Max_W ( 812974 )
        I lived for quite a while in a poor country, and even there people overeat and do not move enough nowadays. There are a lot of cases of obesity in poor countries too.

        Massive automation and mechanization are global phenomenons.

        I agree with you that there should be strict food control on toxins, infections, etc. Still, if a person does not move and overeat, any food would be dangerous.
  • Isn't this knowledge/research kinda old? I remember hearing about this in the 90s. That's one of the reasons I never had more than 2-3 Macs in my entire life.
  • by Megol ( 3135005 ) on Thursday February 15, 2018 @08:01AM (#56127598)

    The concept of "ultra-processed" seems similar to the precision in "non-natural" processing - processing that isn't commonly done in nature or traditional cooking methods.
    Without actually defining _why_ some type of processing should be considered ultra-processed and some others shouldn't I can't see this as a homogeneous group without some "natural magic" added. And nature isn't magical.

    One very common example of ultra-processed (using the vague definition given) is pre-processed starches of which there are many variants. One that is commonly used is pre-gelled starch: one takes a starch and treats it like it would be when cooked (heating in water) which generates a gel which is then dried and pulverized. This means that when one add the processed starch into water it will produce a gel without needing heating and with much less tendency to clump.
    Doing this saves time but gives the exact same result as if one would take a non-processed starch, add it to a water-based liquid and then heating the result!

    That fact haven't stopped people claiming that using this kind of processed starch is somehow bad, if not in some magic non-natural way then as a way of "cheating" consumers from properly prepared food.

  • One study? (Score:2, Informative)

    by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 )
    That is it? No corroborating studies?

    Beyond nutritional composition, neoformed contaminants, some of which have carcinogenic properties (such as acrylamide, heterocyclic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), are present in heat treated processed food products as a result of the Maillard reaction

    The Maillard reaction is what gives ALL browned foods their distinctive flavors. This implies that ALL foods that have been browned, say a chicken breast in a skillet, will have those same "neoformed contaminants".

    Participants were invited to complete a series of three non-consecutive, validated, web based 24 hour dietary records every six months (to vary the season of completion), randomly assigned over a two week period (two weekdays and one weekend day). To be included in the nutrition component of the NutriNet-Santé cohort, only two dietary records were mandatory. We did not exclude participants if they did not complete all optional questionnaires. We averaged mean dietary intakes from all the 24 hour dietary records available during the first two years of each participant’s follow-up and considered these as baseline usual dietary intakes in this prospective analysis.

    This is pretty sloppy research methodology. It contains a form of self-selection and has two few data points. In order to be included in the study only two data points are required over two years and the participants chose when and whether to provide informat

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