#food #processed #aging #sugar #brain #alcohol
“Eating too much processed food is 1 of the most common, yet harmful, eating habits that will speed up our aging process”-– Paul Ebeling
A study has established that there is an association between ultra-processed food consumption and telomere shortening. Telomeres are parts of chromosomes that can be made use of as biological age markers. The study results suggest that people with a high intake of over 3 servings of ultra-processed foods every day were twice as likely to have short telomeres, which are a biological aging marker at the cellular level, indicating that diet may cause faster aging of the cells.
Telomeres are structures situated at the ends of the chromosomes and made from a strand of DNA in conjunction with specialized proteins. Every human cell consists of 23 pairs of chromosomes which include genetic code, and although the telomeres don’t include genetic information, they are essential for the preservation of the integrity and stability of chromosomes and subsequently, the DNA that each cell in the body is reliant on for functioning.
As we age, the telomeres get shorter because a section of the telomere is lost every time a cell divides, so the length of the telomere is regarded as a biological age marker.
Ultra-processed foods are industrial formulated substances derived from food such as fats, oils, sugars, protein isolates, and starch that include little if any whole food and often contain emulsifiers, colorings, flavorings, as well as other cosmetic additives.
The ingredients and processes made use of in the production of ultra-processed foods ensure they are convenient and attractive to consumers, and extremely profitable for the producers. These properties also make them unbalanced or nutritionally poor, and likely to be consumed in excess, usually at the expense of more nutritious and less processed alternatives.
Research has linked ultra-processed foods with serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and a variety of cancers. These diseases are often related to age and are associated with cellular aging, inflammation, and oxidative stress which can also affect telomere length.
The researchers discovered that as the consumption of ultra-processed foods increased, the probability of having shortened telomeres significantly increased with each group above the lowest having an increase in the risk of 29% for the ‘medium-low’, 40% for the ‘medium-high’, and 82% for the ‘high’ groups consuming ultra-processed foods. The researchers also revealed that consumption of ultra-processed foods was linked to the risk of obesity/overweight, hypertension, and depression, particularly in individuals with low physical activity levels.
Also, according to a study, daily alcohol consumption appears to be associated with an increase in relative brain age in comparison to those who consume less alcohol. Research has already proven that some lifestyle habits, such as heavy alcohol consumption, are linked to harmful effects in certain areas of the brain.
Individuals consuming alcohol every day or on most days of the week had around 0.4 yrs or 5 months of extra brain aging in comparison to individuals who did not, The statistical significance of 0.4 yrs of difference is that the brain aged about a wk for every gram of alcohol consumed daily. There are 8 grams of alcohol in 1 unit of alcohol, a shot of spirits is 1 unit of alcohol, and a large glass of wine or a pint of beer is about 3 units of alcohol.
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