People who eat large amounts of heavily processed foods, from breakfast cereals and ready meals to muffins and ice-cream, have a greater risk of heart attack, stroke and early death, according to two major studies.
The findings, from separate teams in France and Spain, add to a growing body of evidence that foods made in factories with industrial ingredients may have a hand in an array of medical disorders such as cancer, obesity and high blood pressure.
In the French NutriSanté study, researchers at the University of Paris gathered details on the diets and health of more than 105,000 people. Over five years of follow-up, those who consumed the most "ultra-processed" food were most at risk of stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. When the amount of ultra-processed food in the diet rose 10 percentage points, for example from 10% to 20%, the risk of the diseases rose 12%.