Total Access Medical - Direct Primary Care Blog

Ultra Processed Foods May Accelerate Cognitive Decline

Posted by Total Access Medical on Feb 03, 2023


Cognitive decline is usually the first noticeable sign of dementia, which is the common term that describes the impaired ability to think, remember, or make decisions that impact everyday activities or life. Consumption of ultra-processed foods adds to the possibility of developing obesity and other diet-related diseases. 

According to the NYU School of Global Public Health, over the past two decades, the consumption of ultra-processed foods has increased across nearly all segments of the U.S. population. Given the expanding intake of ultra-processed foods in the U.S. and rising evidence linking these foods to chronic diseases, the researchers encouraged people to implement policies in reducing the consumption of ultra-processed foods. 

Also, they recommend revising the dietary guidelines and applying marketing restrictions in promoting ultra-processed foods. They also support policies and programs that increase the accessibility, availability, and affordability of whole foods, especially for disadvantaged populations.

What are The Effects of a Healthy Diet on Cognition?

Dementia is tagged as the  6th leading cause of death in the U.S. It is now a public priority to prevent cognitive decline and reduce the hallmark feature of dementia. Delaying the disease onset by just five years will decrease the prevalence and cost by half. One of the effective preventive strategies to prevent dementia is to do diet interventions.

Keeping healthy and fit can reduce the risk of dementia — and having a healthy or nutritious diet is a huge part of being fit. Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay or MIND diet is a great alternative to the Mediterranean diet. The MIND diet focuses on green and leafy vegetables, berries, nuts, beans, seafood, whole grains, poultry, wine, and olive oil. 

Diet plays a vital role to improve the cognitive aspect. Evidence is growing and proves that a varied diet rich in plants supports a varied gut microbiome. Also, a varied gut microbiome helps to lessen the inflammation implicated in dementia. It is a good practice to be health conscious, to think of ways in achieving a healthier lifestyle, and be able to reduce the risk of having dementia. Consuming the right nutrition could help avoid the occurrence of different types of diseases. 

Reasons to Reduce The Intake of Ultra-processed Food

People tend to serve processed food occasionally but it is unlikely to cause harm. Consumption of ultra-processed foods should be limited as much as possible. This type of food could be labeled as junk food. Low in fiber but high in sugar and calories. 

It has been found that ultra-processed foods affect cardiovascular functioning and metabolism by altering the glycemic response of the body and the satiety process. Moreover, many substances that are included during the ultra-processing of foods play important roles in triggering the onset and development of cardiometabolic disorders. 

Despite the serious health risk of too much consumption, eating ultra-processed foods is increasing worldwide. Due to demand, these foods were priced relatively cheap and made widely available in several places and communities. They are promoted intensively through media advertising. 

The often targets are children, poorer communities, and young people. The sad thing is there is lacking spreading awareness about the dangers of ultra-processed food and drinks. People are unaware of how risky it is to include ultra-processed foods in daily meals.

An inadequate diet may affect cognitive function and may lead to the progression of diseases including dementia, slowing down reaction time, and impaired decision-making. But the good news is, with a well-balanced diet and sufficient nutrition, these diseases could be prevented. Achieve a healthier lifestyle today and reduce the risk of acceleration of cognitive decline. 

New call-to-action