May 8, 2024 – The study of 115,000 people found that those who ate large amounts of ultra-processed foods, especially processed meats, sugary breakfast foods and sugar and artificially sweetened beverages, were more likely to die prematurely. 

The research, published Wednesday in the journal BMJ, adds to a growing body of evidence that has linked ultra-processed foods to a higher rate of health problems. Ultra-processed foods encompass a broad category ranging from cookies, doughnuts and potato chips to hot dogs, white bread and frozen meals. Scientists say what these foods have in common is that they are typically formulations of industrial ingredients that are designed by manufacturers to achieve a certain “bliss point,” which causes us to crave and overeat them. They also tend to be low in nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals.