Eating Ultra-Processed Foods Increases Death Risk by 62%

We all know eating processed foods is bad for us, but a new study shows just how bad it actually is. The researchers found that eating ultra-processed foods increases a person’s death risk by a whopping 62 percent.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), assessed 19,899 participants, of which 12,113 were women and 7786 were men. The researchers found that there was a direct link to those who ate the highest amount of ultra-processed food to death from all the causes they explored, known as all-cause mortality.

What are Ultra-Processed Foods?

The study classified 136 foods as ultra-processed, including foods like soft drinks, instant soups, chicken nuggets, pizza, candy and many other commonly-eaten foods. The scientists found that those who eat 4 servings of ultra-processed foods daily had a 62 percent increased risk of premature death from any cause. The study also found that each additional serving of these foods adds an additional 18 percent increased risk of premature death from all-cause mortality.

Many of the foods classified as ultra-processed are commonly eaten by the average person, putting the average American at a high risk from diseases like cardiovascular disease and death.

Other ultra-processed foods include: chips, chocolate, sugary cereals, hot dogs, muffins, cakes and French fries. Obviously, that is not a complete list as there are too many ultra-processed foods to name here. Most fast foods and packaged foods would be classified as ultra-processed.

While the study was an observational study, which is not proof of cause and effect, it involved a massive number of individuals thereby increasing the accuracy of the results.

Reduce Your Ultra-Processed Food Consumption

There’s only one truly effective way to reduce your death risk linked to consumption of ultra-processed foods: stop eating them. And, you’re the only one who can stop buying these foods or shoving them in your mouth. While I’d like to say there is a miracle way to overcome the risk caused by ultra-processed foods, there really isn’t other than to just stop eating them. You’re responsible for the foods you eat, so it’s time to make better choices. Here are some simple food swaps to help you get started:

10 Simple Food Swaps You Can Make

It’s easier than most people think to swap out processed foods for those with nutritional value. Here are some simple swaps:

Choose baked sweet potato instead of French fries

Choose vegetable chips over potato chips

Choose water or juice over soft drinks

Choose fruit over candy

Choose an almond milk smoothie with a handful of raw cashews and fresh or frozen berries over ice cream

Choose a veggie burger over a fast food burger

Choose oatmeal with some cinnamon, a dash of stevia and fresh apples over sugary cereals

Choose a grilled organic chicken breast over chicken nuggets

Choose fruit instead of pastries

Choose avocado instead of pre-made mayonnaise for your sandwiches

Choose whole grain bread over white bread or buns full of preservatives and other chemicals

Make homemade muffins with whole grains, almond milk instead of dairy, olive oil instead of margarine and choose them over store-bought ones full of sugar and chemicals

Choose lean poultry or fish over hot dogs packed with questionable ingredients and nitrites

Make a large pot of soup, stew, chili or curry, and freeze the leftovers. Choose them over packaged soups full of MSG (usually found in anything with soup base) and other synthetic ingredients.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, preserving, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include her newest book: FOOD FIX: The Most Powerful Healing Foods and How to Use Them to Overcome Disease. Follow her work.



Marija Mohoric
Marija Mohoric10 days ago

tks for sharing

Martin H
Martin H11 days ago

Thank yoo.

Sue Magee
Sue Magee11 days ago

I still have friends who don't believe that fast foods and packaged foods are bad for you!

Mark T
Mark Turner11 days ago


Mike R
Mike R11 days ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta W11 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

Kathy K
Kathy K12 days ago


Anne Moran
Anne M12 days ago

Who eats that much junk in a day ?? - (4 servings of ultra processed food..) - I'll eat a side of fries once in a blue moon, but that's about it.. - I don't drink pop - yuck,, liquid sugar... - Water is number one,, one day there will be wars over water... - Not in my lifetime though,, I don't think...

David C
David C12 days ago

do your best

David C
David C12 days ago