A recent study by the Alzheimer’s Association found that eating highly processed foods like sugar-laden drinks, frozen meals, and ramen noodles may be linked to a faster rate of cognitive decline.
In monitoring the diets of more than 10,000 middle-aged and older adults, research revealed that those whose daily calories consisted of ultra-processed foods of more than 20%, saw a faster decline in cognitive performance over six to 10 years than those with little processed food in their diets.
Ultra-processed foods include white bread, cookies, fried snacks, crackers, cream cheese, hot dogs, processed meats, ice cream, candy, and soda.
“An increase in the availability and consumption of fast, processed and ultra-processed foods is due to a number of socioeconomic factors, including low access to healthy foods, less time to prepare foods from scratch, and inability to afford whole food options,” Percy Griffin, director of scientific engagement for the Alzheimer’s Association, said in a statement.
In addition, researchers say eating more processed foods can lead to an elevated risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
How to Eliminate Processed Foods
Getting rid of processed foods begins in the grocery store. Skip the prepared frozen foods and choose fresh ingredients for meals. If you do buy packaged foods, check the ingredient list. The longer the list, the more likely there are unwanted additives.