People who get a quarter of their calories from processed foods are 28% more likely to experience cognitive complications compared to those with a lower intake, a new study shows.
A team of academics have found that eating two sausages or a burger meal every day are at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
According to the results, foods high in sugar, fat and salt increases inflammation, which can then trigger cognitive decline.
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Previous research has found that on average more than half of an American’s diet is made up of processed food.
During the study, the researchers examined the diets of 10,000 adults to assess whether their food intake impacted their brain function.
The group self-reported their daily food intake and underwent brain tests to measure their cognitive ability.
The scientists found that the participants eating more processed foods were nearly 30% more at risk of experiencing cognitive complications.
In addition, those consuming lots of processed foods were more at risk of experiencing executive function decline, making it hard to process information and make decisions.
Study author Dr Natalia Goncalves said: “Processed foods likely accelerated cognitive decline because they were packed with sugar, fats and salts.
“This could spark inflammation processes or lesions in the brain – which may raise the speed of decline.”
Neurologist Dr Rudy Tanzi said: “Processed foods were likely a risk because they are usually very high in sugar, salt and fat.”
The recommended calorie intake is 2,500 for males and 2,000 for females, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fellow author and geriatric specialist Dr Claudia Suemoto said: “People need to know they should cook more and prepare their own food from scratch.
“I know we say we don’t have time, but it really doesn’t take that much time and it’s worth it because you’re going to protect your heart and guard your brain from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. That’s the take-home message: Stop buying things that are super-processed.”