Foods that accelerate the deterioration of the cognitive system

Researchers from the School of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (Brazil) have discovered that a higher percentage of daily energy consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with cognitive decline.

This study, published in the scientific journal ‘JAMA Neurology’ and which included 10,775 adults from an ethnically diverse sample, supports current public health recommendations on limit consumption of ultra-processed foods due to its potential damage to cognitive function.

Speaking to SMC Spain, Carmen Romero Ferreiro, a biologist and biostatistician from the Research and Scientific Support Unit of the Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre Research Institute and professor of the Degree in Nutrition at the Francisco de Vitoria University, highlighted that “this study is without a doubt one more advance in the knowledge of the negative effect of ultra-processed foods on health, in this case in cognitive aspects«.

The evaluation of cognitive impairment in this investigation was carried out through tests that evaluated memory and executive functions. Changes in these tests were evaluated over time, with a follow-up between 6 and 10 years.

The results suggest that people with a higher consumption of ultra-processed foods have faster cognitive decline over time. Specifically, they report a 28 percent faster spoilage rate compared to those who ate fewer ultra-processed foods.

“Since intact cognitive function is key to aging successfully, these results highlight the need to reduce the consumption of this type of food to maintain long-term cognitive health“, has highlighted the expert.

«It is new because there are very few studies on the effects of ultra-processed foods on cognition. There are no major limitations. The confounding variables are correct”, highlighted Jordi Júlvez, group leader at the Pere Virgili Health Research Institute (IISPV) and associate researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGLOBAL) .

“The study is original and is based on a large but not completely representative sample of the population, since it only includes adult civil servants. The methodology used is good and takes into account the main confounding factors, although there are some limitations in the study, such as the fact that diet data was only collected at the beginning of the study and not throughout the follow-up, thus ignoring possible changes. in the eating habits that the subjects could have”, added Romero Ferreiro.


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