The passion for fast food threatens accelerated aging

According to a new study conducted by scientists from the University of Navarra (Spain), people who eat a lot of unhealthy food that has been processed industrially show accelerated aging at the cellular level: they have faster telomeres shortened. The results were presented at an international online conference on obesity on September 1. Earlier they were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

People who eat three or more servings of so-called ultra-processed food per day are twice as likely to have shorter end chromosomes - telomeres - than those who rarely eat this kind of food. 

As a person grows older, their telomeres are naturally shortened. Every time a cell divides, part of the telomere is lost. Reducing the length of these parts of DNA is a marker of biological aging. A new study suggests that the consumption of processed food is a factor that shortens the length of telomeres and thus accelerates the aging of cells.

Ultra-processed food - products produced industrially, having passed several stages of processing, fast in the preparation or already ready to eat, fast food. They often contain artificial flavors, colorants, emulsifiers, preservatives, and other additives that increase their shelf life. They also contain practically no natural substances and are poor in terms of nutrition.

Earlier studies have shown a significant correlation between high consumption of ultra-processed foods and the development of hypertension, obesity, depression, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

A study by Spanish scientists analyzed dietary and health data in 645 men and 241 women. Participants were divided into four groups depending on how much processed food they consumed per day.

Those who consumed fast food the most were more likely to have heart disease, diabetes, and abnormal blood fat. There was little useful food in their diet, such as fiber, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

In comparison with the group that consumed the least ultra-processed foods, the other three were more likely to have shortened telomeres by 29, 40, and 82 percent respectively.


Sept. 2, 2020, 10:35 a.m.

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