Research Paper: Junk Food Increases Cancer Risk


 It’s official: junk food intake is linked to cancer. This 2018 study was done in Europe and included over 470,000 participants from 10 countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

The researchers used the Food Standards Agency Nutrient Profiling System, modified version (FSAm-NPS) to rate the nutritional quality of the foods.  The FSAm-NPS assigns scores to foods based on energy, sugar, saturated fat, sodium, fiber, protein, and fruits/vegetables/legumes/nuts.

A FSAm-NPS Dietary Index (FSAm-NPS DI) score was used to calculate scores for each participant, where higher scores reflect the lower nutrient quality of the foods.

The authors found:

  1. A higher FSAm-NPS DI score was significantly correlated with a higher risk of total cancer. In men, a high score was linked to colorectal, upper digestive tract and stomach, lung cancers. In women, a high score was linked to liver and postmenopausal breast cancers.
  2. High FSAm-NPS DI scores were weakly associated with kidney cancer and prostate cancers. And no association was seen with high scores and bladder, endometrial pancreatic, ovarian, or uterine cancers.

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