Diets high in ultraprocessed foods may increase the risk for dementia

Is your diet making you dimmer?

Foods like chips, cookies, frozen meals and sodas contribute to cognitive decline, according to a new study with data from more than 72,000 individuals.

Compared to whole food dieters, those who consume high amounts of ultraprocessed dishes appear more likely to develop dementia.

every 10% increase in junk food consumption, researchers saw a 25% spike in the likelihood of being diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease.

The cause for this correlation is not yet clear, but scientists for the American Academy of Neurology have said that previous studies support the connection between what we put in our bodies and how it affects the mind.

The cohort was then divided into four groups, on a scale lowest to highest based on the percentage of ultraprocessed foods they ate each day.

Ultraprocessed foods accounted for 9% of the average daily diet of those on the lowest tier of junk food intake.

On the other end of the spectrum, ultraprocessed foods made up about 28% of what people ate everyday.

By the end of the UK Biobank survey, which followed participants for an average of 10 years, 518 of those included in the current report had developed dementia — 150 of whom were included in the group with the highest junk food intake.

After accounting for dementia’s high risk factors, such as age, gender and family medical history, researchers found a 25% higher risk of dementia for every 10% jump in ultra-processed foods consumption.

Conversely, those who reduced their junk food intake by 10% benefited from a 19% lower risk of developing dementia.

Small substitutions in diet can translate into big health gains, Li noted — though the habit can be difficult to kick as researchers have previously speculated about the addictive qualities in junk food.