New research suggests that ultra-processed foods (UPFs) raise the risk of cognitive impairment and strokes

A new study appears to deliver resounding yes: eating ultra-processed foods is linked to a greater risk of cognitive impairment and strokes.

This well-designed observational study examined data from the REGARDS (REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke) project, a longitudinal study of non-Hispanic Black and white Americans ages 45 years and older. Study participants were initially enrolled between 2003 and 2007 and were given a number of questionnaires evaluating health, diet, exercise, body mass index, education, income, alcohol use, mood, and other factors. In addition, tests of memory and language were administered at regular intervals.

To examine the risk of stroke and cognitive impairment, data from 20,243 and 14,175 participants, respectively, were found usable based on the quality of the information from the questionnaires and tests. Approximately one-third of the sample identified as Black and the majority of the remaining two-thirds identified as white.

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