Do you want to live longer and healthier! Me too! That’s why I am geeking out to share some new data about health and ultra processed foods (also called NOVA 4 foods). At the International Obesity Conference (Fall 2020), researchers from Spain shared some cool data that they initially published in June. Here’s what they found….
Ultra processed, or NOVA 4 foods, shorten our telomeres, which can lead to cell aging. Let’s back up and take a mini lesson in cellular physiology. A telomere is like a cap at the end of our chromosomes. These chromosome caps function kind of like the plastic, called an aglet, at the end of your shoelaces. Just like the aglet protects the end of your shoelaces, the telomere keeps the chromosome ends from fraying.
Telomeres become shorter and less effective over time, so their length can be measured as a marker of cell aging. Roughly, this gives us an idea of our biological age. The shorter your telomeres, the older your body. I’m talking health-wise, not chronological age.
Now let’s circle back to (ultra processed) NOVA 4 foods. What are those? Foods whose ingredients include maltodextrin, sucralose, mono and diglycerides, partially hydrogenated oils, natamycin, xanthum gum, guar gum, soy lecithin, high fructose corn syrup, erythritol, food dyes, and so on. NOVA 4 ingredients have already been linked to diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, high blood pressure, depression and some types of cancer. These are the villains in our food chain, when it comes to our health.
Here’s what’s new from the study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. They found that the more NOVA 4 foods a person consumes, the shorter the telomeres. In fact, those who ate the most NOVA 4 foods were 82% more likely to have shortened telomeres. This is important stuff for anyone who cares about healthy aging and living longer.
In summary, the authors found that eating ultra processed foods leads to shortened telomeres, accelerated aging, and an increase in all cause mortality (meaning death from any cause). Wow. That is some fantastic science. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to skip the Flaming Hot Cheetos after reading this.
For those of you who also love to geek out on science, here’s a link to the original article. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32330232/
Thanks for reading! I wish you the best of health.
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