An article earlier this yr within the European Journal of Diet reported that top consumption of ultra-processed meals is linked to worse-than-average efficiency on one explicit take a look at of cognitive perform in older US adults (60+ years-old) who didn’t have power illnesses reminiscent of diabetes or heart problems. The actual take a look at was “Animal Fluency.” By no means heard of it? Me both. Maintain studying.
The research included 2,700 contributors, common age 69. Members had been requested to recall what they ate within the prior 24 hours. Meals had been “categorised in accordance with NOVA, a meals classification primarily based on the extent and objective of business meals processing, into 4 mutually unique teams: (1) unprocessed or minimally processed meals, (2) processed culinary elements, (3) processed meals, and (4) UPFs [ultra-processed foods].”
Extremely-processed meals? “…most meals described as “Frozen meals” or “Lunchables”, in addition to some objects described as consumed in “Restaurant quick meals/pizza” or acquired at a “Merchandising machine” had been categorised as UPFs.” Moreover, the authors write within the introduction that “UPFs, in accordance with the NOVA classification system, are industrial formulations of processed meals substances (oils, fat, sugars, starch, and protein isolates) that include little or no entire meals and sometimes embrace flavourings, colorings, emulsifiers, and different beauty components. UPFs have gotten dominant in diets globally and are changing conventional diets primarily based on unprocessed and minimally processed meals.
Of your entire research inhabitants at hand, UPFs had been about half of all energy consumed however ranged from 30 to 70%.
“Cognitive efficiency was assessed utilizing the Consortium to Set up a Registry for Alzheimer’s Illness (CERAD), Phrase Studying take a look at, Animal Fluency take a look at, and the Digit Image Substitution take a look at (DSST).”
The Animal Fluency take a look at “evaluates categorical verbal fluency (government perform).” “For the Animal Fluency take a look at, the participant is requested to call as many animals as attainable inside a 60-s [60 seconds, I assume] time interval. Every animal corresponds to 1 level and the result’s offered as the whole sum of factors.”
The take a look at topics got two different exams of cognitive perform however the investigators discovered no variations in efficiency primarily based on ultra-processed meals consumption. Listed here are these different two exams:
The 2 components of the CERAD Phrase Studying take a look at encompass (1) three consecutive studying trials, the place the participant was requested to recall a listing of ten unrelated phrases instantly after their presentation. Every phrase corresponds to at least one level, and the result’s offered as a complete rating throughout the three trials (vary 0–30); and (2) a delayed phrase recall take a look at, carried out after the 2 different cognitive exams. The consequence ranges from 0 to 10. … For the DSST, the participant is offered a single sheet of paper the place they’re requested to match a listing of 9 symbols to numbers in accordance with a key situated on the highest of the web page. The duty had 133 numbers and the participant had 2 min to finish it. The result’s proven as the whole variety of right matches. For all of the exams, larger scores symbolize higher cognitive perform.
The authors conclude: “Consumption of UPF was related to worse efficiency in Animal Fluency, a cognitive take a look at that assesses language and government perform in older adults with out pre-existing illnesses reminiscent of CVD [cardiovascular disease] and diabetes, whereas no associations had been noticed for these with these circumstances. Whereas longitudinal research are required to supply stronger proof, these outcomes counsel that reducing UPF consumption could also be a solution to mitigate age-associated cognitive decline and scale back the chance of dementia.”
I agree these outcomes aren’t very robust.
Steve Parker, MD
h/t Jan at The Low Carb Diabetic weblog