The news is full of links between so called ‘ultra-processed’ food and cancer, with another new study out today. Jay Rayner and most of the UK food industry call it bad science and maybe it is – but that still leaves diabetes and obesity as two consequences that are harder to deny.
Take a look at the list of ingredients in one of our Bakewell tarts and one of Mr Kiplings… and even then I’d be the first to admit that ours is too sweet.
Ben’s Farm Shop Bakewell Slice
Butter, wheat flour (contains calcium carbonate, iron, niacin, thiamin), sugar, strawberry jam (strawberries, sugar, lemon juice), almonds, egg, water.
Wheat Flour (with added Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin), Sugar, Vegetable Oils (Palm, Rapeseed), Plum and Raspberry Jam (Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Plum Purée, Sugar, Raspberry Purée, Gelling Agent (Pectin), Acid (Citric Acid), Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrates), Colour (Anthocyanins), Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Flavouring), Glucose Syrup, Water, Soya Flour, Whey Powder (Milk), Ground Rice, Invert Sugar Syrup, Humectant (Vegetable Glycerine), Vegetable Fats (Palm, Rapeseed, Shea, Sunflower in varying proportions), Skimmed Milk Powder, Dried Egg White, Ground Almonds, Salt, Emulsifiers (Sorbitan Monostearate, Soya Lecithin, Polysorbate 60), Raising Agents (Disodium Diphosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Milk Protein, Flavouring, Stabiliser (Sorbitan Tristearate), Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Colour (Lutein).
And as we know – it’s not just about what’s on the inside. We could do without the plastic packaging as well as the ‘e’ numbers.
The latest study, which made the news today, appears to show that eating ultra-processed foods could lead to higher rates of cancer. Scientists say they need to do further research to find out more about the link, but they have found that a 10% increase in the amount of ultra-processed food in the diet is linked to a 12% increase in cancers of some kind, particularly breast cancer.
We consume more of these foods than any other out of 19 European countries according to a recent report by global nutrition experts – they account for over half the food we buy.
In this new study, researchers based at the Sorbonne in Paris, looked at the medical records and eating habits of nearly 105,000 adults, registering their usual intake of 3,300 different food items.
“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.
Diet is already known to affect the risk of cancer and being overweight is the biggest preventable cause of the disease after smoking.