Ultra-processed food intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective cohort study (NutriNet-Santé)
Abstract Objective To assess the prospective associations between consumption of ultra-processed foods and risk of cardiovascular diseases. Design Population based cohort study. Setting NutriNet-Sante cohort, France 2009-18. Participants 105 159 participants aged at least 18 years. Dietary intakes were collected using repeated 24 hour dietary records (5.7 for each participant on average), designed to register participants’ usual consumption of 3300 food items. These foods were categorised using the NOVA classification according to degree of processing. Main outcome measures Associations between intake of ultra-processed food and overall risk of cardiovascular, coronary heart, and cerebrovascular diseases assessed by multivariable Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for known risk factors. Results During a median follow-up of 5.2 years, intake of ultra-processed food was associated with a higher risk of overall cardiovascular disease (1409 cases; hazard ratio for an absolute increment of 10 in the percentage of ultra-processed foods in the diet 1.12 (95% confidence interval 1.05 to 1.20); P Conclusions In this large observational prospective study, higher consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with higher risks of cardiovascular, coronary heart, and cerebrovascular diseases. These results need to be confirmed in other populations and settings, and causality remains to be established. Various factors in processing, such as nutritional composition of the final product, additives, contact materials, and neoformed contaminants might play a role in these associations, and further studies are needed to understand better the relative contributions. Meanwhile, public health authorities in several countries have recently started to promote unprocessed or minimally processed foods and to recommend limiting the consumption of ultra-processed foods. Study registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03335644.