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05th Sep 2020

Processed foods are making us age more quickly, finds study

Anna Rourke

When we think of ‘anti-ageing’, we often think of the bottles in our bathroom cupboard – but we might be better off looking in our fridges.

Processed foods are ageing us faster, according to a new study.

In news that probably won’t come as a surprise to many, it’s been found that manufactured foods high in fat, sugar, starch and salt cause us to age more rapidly.

This is down to changes in our DNA linked with diet, the study states.

Scientists in Spain looked at the DNA and eating habits of almost 900 adults, with an average age of 67.

The results of their research show the deep-reaching effects of our diets.

They discovered that participants who ate three or more servings of processed foods a day were almost twice as likely to have shorter telomeres in their DNA as those who ate less than one serving of processed foods.

Telomeres are found at the end of chromosomes. Though they naturally shorten as we get older, this study is the first of its kind to show a link between poor diet and premature shortening – and therefore ageing.

Participants who ate two to three servings of processed foods daily were also shown to have up to 40 per cent risk of shorter telomeres.

Those with shorter telomeres, the researchers stated, are more likely to suffer with diseases like cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes that are often age-related.

These results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The team at the University of Navarra in Spain stressed that more research is needed on the topic – but this news is definitely enough to make us rethink getting our third takeaway of the week.


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