In 1976, when Elton John and Kiki Dee sang "Don't go breaking my heart," they were more concerned with love gone bad than food that done 'em wrong. But now, 45 years later, it turns out that the real risk for heartbreak comes from ultraprocessed foods. A new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that eating ultraprocessed foods, even those touted as healthy, such as protein and energy bars and some breakfast cereals, ups your risk of heart attack and stroke.
During 18 years of follow-up on folks who started out without cardiovascular disease, the researchers found that each daily serving of ultraprocessed food was associated with:
- A 7% increase in the risk of heart attack, coronary death and stroke in folks who developed cardiovascular disease.
- A 9% increase in the risk of heart attack and coronary death in folks who developed coronary heart disease.
- And a 9% percent increased risk in cardiovascular disease mortality.
Salty foods, low-calorie soft drinks, ultraprocessed meats and breads all were major culprits.
Unfortunately, ultraprocessed foods, such as prepared meals, cold cuts, hot dogs, fast food, packaged cookies and cakes, and snacks account for 58% of the calories consumed by the average American. They're loaded with artificial color and flavors, chemical preservatives and stabilizers, and food substances like fat, starches and sugars that are reassembled to imitate a natural food, and they're stripped of vitamins, minerals and fiber. So don't go breakin' your heart - or your family's. Opt for fresh, whole foods and lean animal proteins, such as salmon or ocean trout.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.