International study links ultra-processed foods with IBD risk

Research has shown that ultra-processed foods may be linked to inflammatory bowel diseases. BanksPhotos/Getty Images
  • Worldwide, an increase in the prevalence of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), coincides with a shift in Western dietary patterns.
  • Although doctors have suspected for years that ultra-processed foods could compromise GI tract health, they lack the evidence to support this hypothesis.
  • Recent multinational studies have shown that regular consumption of highly processed foods and drinks is linked to inflammation and IBD.

IBD is more common in countries with higher median incomes than in countries with lower median incomes. But, cases are on the riseTrusted Source as ultra-processed foods become more popular and readily available in developing countries.

Gastronomers have known for years that highly processed foods can cause inflammation and IBD. This hypothesis has been tested in small clinical studies.

A multinational prospective cohort study examining the link between ultra-processed foods and IBD risk was conducted.

Neeraj Narula, M.D. was the principal investigator of this study. He is an assistant professor at McMaster University in Hamilton. The British Medical Journal published the results.

What’s IBD?

IBD refers to a group disease that causes chronic inflammation of the GI tract. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s are examples of this group.

IBD is used by approximately 3,000,000 people in America.

While some studies suggest that the condition is genetic, increasing evidence suggests that dietary habits are a contributing factor.

Ashkan Farhadi M.D. MS, FACP is a gastroenterologist who also writes about IBD. He describes it as “a disease that wealthy countries have.”

He says that as societies become more economically advanced, people abandon traditional methods of growing, preserving, and preserving food in favor of convenient packaged products.

He spoke out about the new study in Medical News Today and praised it as the first to pinpoint processed foods as the cause of IBD development.

Dr. Farhadi pointed out that before this, there was no research showing what happens to gut health when a country becomes more prosperous economically.

Dr. Farhadi also praised the researchers for including ultra-processed beverages, which is a departure from most other research.

What’s ultra-processed food?

The NOVA food classification system identifies four types of foods: unprocessed or minimally processed foods; processed ingredients; processed foods; and ultra-processed.

These foods are the majority of mass-produced food and beverages. These foods contain food additives such as preservatives, emulsifiers, flavorings, transfats, and colorings.

Prof. Prof.

Prof. Spector stated that Americans consume more processed foods than anyone else in the world. According to Spector, more than 60% of Americans consume ultra-processed food.

Measurement of food intake and IBD risk

Narula and his colleagues analyzed the medical records of more than 116,000 people aged 35-70. Participants came from 21 countries with low, medium, or high incomes in North America, South America and Europe.

Participants completed a questionnaire on food frequency at least once every three years, from 2003 to 2016.

They said they drank “all types of packaged or formulated foods and beverages that have food additives, artificial flavors, colors, or any other chemical ingredient.”

After completing the baseline questionnaire, the primary outcome of this study was diagnosis of IBD.

Participants from North America, South America and Europe reported higher intakes of ultra-processed foods than those from other regions. These three regions also had higher rates of IBD.

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