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Sunday, October 31, 2021

Cut white bread from your meals: how it boosts heart disease risk

A study reveals that ultra-processed foods like bread increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by 10%.

Few foods are as present in the regular diet as bread. Anyone who does not eat toast for breakfast is likely to eat it as a snack or as an accompaniment to other meals throughout the day. There are even those who consider themselves bread addicts, unable to stop eating bread. But the truth is that experts warn that depending on the type of bread eaten -white bread, wholemeal bread- it can be more or less beneficial to health.

However, a study, just presented at the European Society of Cardiology ESC 2021 Congress on Cardiovascular Care includes mass-produced bread as one of the ultra-processed foods associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Although it is true that not all bread is harmful to health, as is the case of those for which refined flours have not been used, there are other types of bread such as white or sliced bread that may be related to cardiovascular disease.

Specifically, this latest study – in which mass-produced bread was included among these harmful foods. examined the relationship between ultra-processed food consumption and the development of or deaths from cardiovascular disease over a 10-year period.

The analysis used data from the prospective ATTICA study, which was conducted between 2001 and 2012 in Greece. The study further examined adults without cardiovascular disease at baseline, who were asked about the frequency and portion sizes of a variety of foods and beverages consumed during the previous seven days. The researchers also used a questionnaire to assess the level of adherence or adherence to a healthy dietary pattern. for the heart such as the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on the intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and they did so by assigning them a score from 0 to 55, where higher values mean better adherence.

The research included 2,020 participants, of which 1,014 were women and 1,006 were men with an average age of 45 years. On average, the participants consumed approximately 15 servings of ultra-processed foods per week including some products such as bread, ready meals, sweets, fast food, or soft drinks, among others.

Subsequently, it was checked whether cardiovascular conditions were appearing. such as heart attacks, unstable angina, strokes, heart failure, and heart rhythm disorders such as arrhythmias.

10% more likely

During the 10 years in which they were followed up, there were. at least 317 cardiovascular conditions. An incidence that was progressively higher as the consumption of these ultra-processed foods increased. Thus, the results showed that with an average weekly consumption of 7.5, 13, and 18 servings, the incidence of cardiovascular disease was 8.1%, 12.2%, and 16.6%, respectively.

That is, according to the results, each additional weekly serving of ultra-processed foods was associated with. a 10% increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease over 10 years.

This association was reevaluated according to adherence to the Mediterranean diet. and the aggravating role of ultra-processed foods was found to be even stronger in participants who were less adherent to this dietary pattern. In those with a Mediterranean diet score of less than 27 (out of 55), each additional weekly serving of ultra-processed food was associated with a 19% higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease within the decade analyzed.

In contrast, in participants with a moderate to a high level of adherence to the Mediterranean diet (score above 27), each additional weekly serving of ultra-processed foods was associated with an 8% increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease within the 10 years studied.

Dr. Matina Kouvari, the author of the research and a professor at Harokopio University in Athens, said that evidence is being found of the link between ultra-processed foods and increased risks of chronic diseases. She also stressed that this latest study “suggests that the detrimental link to cardiovascular diseases is even stronger in those with a generally unhealthy diet.“.

In this sense, he argues that this is all the more reason to push for public health initiatives and nutrition policies that promote the consumption of nutritious and healthy foods, and recommends that the population should – as far as possible – limit the intake of ultra-processed foods.

Fede E.
Journalist and copywriter in equal parts. Critic and specialist in information related to gastronomy and food.
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