An article earlier this 12 months within the European Journal of Vitamin reported that prime consumption of ultra-processed meals is linked to worse-than-average efficiency on one explicit take a look at of cognitive operate in older U.S. adults (60+ years-old) who didn’t have power illnesses resembling 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 members, common age 69. Individuals have been requested to recall what they ate within the prior 24 hours. Meals have been “labeled in response to NOVA, a meals classification based mostly on the extent and function of business meals processing, into 4 mutually unique teams: (1) unprocessed or minimally processed meals, (2) processed culinary components, (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” have been labeled as UPFs.” Moreover, the authors write within the introduction that “UPFs, in response to NOVA classification system, are industrial formulations of processed meals substances (oils, fat, sugars, starch, and protein isolates) that include little or no complete meals and usually embody flavourings, colourings, emulsifiers, and different beauty components. UPFs have gotten dominant in diets globally and are changing conventional diets based mostly on unprocessed and minimally processed meals.
Of all the research inhabitants at hand, UPFs have 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 operate).” “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 introduced as the full sum of factors.”
The take a look at topics got two different checks of cognitive operate however the investigators discovered no variations in efficiency based mostly on ultra-processed meals consumption. Listed here are these different two checks:
The 2 elements of the CERAD Phrase Studying take a look at include (1) three consecutive studying trials, the place the participant is requested to recall an inventory of ten unrelated phrases instantly after their presentation. Every phrase corresponds to at least one level, and the result’s introduced 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 checks. The outcome ranges from 0 to 10. … For the DSST, the participant is introduced a single sheet of paper the place they’re requested to match an inventory of 9 symbols to numbers in response to a key positioned 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 full variety of appropriate matches. For all of the checks, greater scores signify higher cognitive operate.
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 operate in older adults with out pre-existing illnesses resembling CVD [cardiovascular disease] and diabetes, whereas no associations have 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 technique to mitigate age-associated cognitive decline and scale back the chance of dementia.”
I agree these outcomes aren’t very sturdy.
Steve Parker, M.D.
h/t Jan at The Low Carb Diabetic weblog