Do ultra-processed foods raise the risk of some cancers, as a few studies report?

Researchers tracked 450,111 Europeans for 14 years. A 10 percent higher intake of ultra-processed foods was linked to about a 23 percent higher risk of head or neck cancer or adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.

Excess weight explained some of the link. However, people who consumed the most ultra-processed foods also had a higher risk of accidental death (due to falls, car crashes, drowning, etc.). Since ultra-processed foods can’t cause accidental deaths, that suggests that something else about people who load up on ultra-processed foods helps explain their higher cancer risk.

What to do

Until we know more, fill half your plate with whole fruits and vegetables and the rest with beans, whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry, or dairy.

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