How to live longer: Processed food may boost your risk of death by 40%


Heart and circulatory diseases claim more than 160,000 lives every year in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation. Research has identified one particular food group that could increase your risk of dying from heart disease by 40 percent.

The recent study, published in the European Heart Journal, has singled out ultra-processed food to pose a higher risk for dying from heart disease in people who have a history of cardiac events.

Heart disease, also referred to as cardiovascular disease, describes conditions that affect your heart and blood vessels.

Cardiovascular diseases are usually linked to blood clots or build-up of fatty deposits inside your arteries, the NHS reports.

This study found that ultra-processed food can boost the risk of dying from all causes in people who have heart disease.

READ MORE: Omicron symptoms: Seven early symptoms to spot and why they differ from the Delta variant

The research used NOVA classification to define ultra-processed food, which describes this type of food to use many ingredients, including food additives, processed raw materials and ingredients rarely used in home cooking.

Processed raw materials range from hydrogenated fats to modified starches, while rarely used ingredients were defined as soy protein or mechanically separated meat.

Diet rich in foods like this is common in the UK, accounting for more than half of calories consumed, the NOVA adds.

Consuming a diet packed with foods like this is a high-risk factor for people with heart diseases, according to the European Heart Journal research.


The study looked at 1,171 men and women around the age of 67 years with a history of cardiovascular disease.

These participants were then followed for 10.6 years on average.

Their food habits were assessed using a food frequency questionnaire.

The research team found that an ultra-processed food diet poses a higher risk of dying from all causes as well as heart diseases.

They report that following this diet represents “a major public health concern”.

This means that if you fall into the category of heart disease patients, you might want to switch to a healthier diet.

According to the NHS, an unhealthy diet can be one of the causes of heart disease in the first place.

They recommend following a healthy, balanced diet to protect your heart.

This type of diet includes:

  • Low levels of saturated fat
  • Low levels of salt (less than 6 grams a day)
  • Low levels of sugar
  • Fibre and wholegrain foods
  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables.

Saturated fat is found in fatty foods, such as cuts of meat, lard, cream, cakes and biscuits.

Eating foods like this can be raising your cholesterol, which can lead to heart problems or stroke over time, the NHS reports.

There’s also unsaturated fat which is a “healthier source” found in foods like oily fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil.

Other ways that could help prevent heart disease range from exercise to cutting back on alcohol.




Leave a comment