Processed food can speed up ageing, study reveals

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on September 06, 2020 Published on September 06, 2020

Representative image   -  KK MUSTAFAH

People who consume processed food on a daily basis are more likely to experience a change in their chromosomes associated with ageing, as per the research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Scientists presented a report during the European and International Conference on Obesity and maintained that the consumption of ultra-processed food can alter the strands of DNA and proteins called telomeres, found on the end of chromosomes, by making them shorter.

This could be dangerous for health as short telomeres are a marker of biological ageing at the cellular level, and the study suggested that diet is a factor in driving the cells to age faster.

The authors further mentioned that while the correlation is strong, however, the causal relationship between eating highly processed foods and diminished telomeres remains speculative.

Each human cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes that contain the genetic code.

The body experiences the shortness of telomeres naturally as it grows older because each time a cell divides, part of the telomere is lost. The reduction in telomere determines the biological age.

Scientists believe that the processed food accelerates the process of getting older due to the presence of artificial flavorings, colorings, emulsifiers, preservatives and other additives that increase shelf-life.

These same properties, however, also mean that such foods are nutritionally poor compared to less processed alternatives, the researchers said.

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Published on September 06, 2020
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