Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort.
BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 2018;360:k322
Plain language summary
Foods that are heavily processed tend to have high levels of total fat, sugar and salt and low levels of fibre and vitamins. They also tend to have high levels of contaminants (caused for example by high heat treatment), food additives and plastic packaging exposure. This large prospective population-based cohort study assessed the association between ultra-processed food consumption and the incidence of cancer. The study found that ultra-processed food intake was associated with a higher overall cancer risk and a higher breast cancer risk. A 10% increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with an increase of more than 10% greater risk of overall and breast cancer risk. The authors call for further studies to better understand the different elements of food processing and their association to cancer risk.
OBJECTIVE To assess the prospective associations between consumption of ultra-processed food and risk of cancer. DESIGN Population based cohort study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS 104 980 participants aged at least 18 years (median age 42.8 years) from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort (2009-17). Dietary intakes were collected using repeated 24 hour dietary records, designed to register participants' usual consumption for 3300 different food items. These were categorised according to their degree of processing by the NOVA classification. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Associations between ultra-processed food intake and risk of overall, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer assessed by multivariable Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for known risk factors. RESULTS Ultra-processed food intake was associated with higher overall cancer risk (n=2228 cases; hazard ratio for a 10% increment in the proportion of ultra-processed food in the diet 1.12 (95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.18); P for trend<0.001) and breast cancer risk (n=739 cases; hazard ratio 1.11 (1.02 to 1.22); P for trend=0.02). These results remained statistically significant after adjustment for several markers of the nutritional quality of the diet (lipid, sodium, and carbohydrate intakes and/or a Western pattern derived by principal component analysis). CONCLUSIONS In this large prospective study, a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a significant increase of greater than 10% in risks of overall and breast cancer. Further studies are needed to better understand the relative effect of the various dimensions of processing (nutritional composition, food additives, contact materials, and neoformed contaminants) in these associations. STUDY REGISTRATION Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03335644.
Comparison of Sociodemographic and Nutritional Characteristics between Self-Reported Vegetarians, Vegans, and Meat-Eaters from the NutriNet-Santé Study.
BACKGROUND There is a growing trend for vegetarian and vegan diets in many Western countries. Epidemiological evidence suggesting that such diets may help in maintaining good health is rising. However, dietary and sociodemographic characteristics of vegetarians and vegans are not well known. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to describe sociodemographic and nutritional characteristics of self-reported, adult vegetarians and vegans, compared to meat-eaters, from the French NutriNet-Santé study. METHODS Participants were asked if they were following a specific diet. They were then classified into three self-reported diet groups: 90,664 meat-eaters, 2370 vegetarians, and 789 vegans. Dietary data were collected using three repeated 24-h dietary records. Multivariable polytomic logistic regression models were perfomed to assess the association between the sociodemographic characteristics and type of diet. The prevalence of nutrient intake inadequacy was estimated, by sex and age for micronutrients, as well as by type of self-reported diet. RESULTS Compared with meat-eaters, vegetarians were more likely to have a higher educational level, whereas vegans had a lower education level. Compared with meat-eaters, vegetarians were more likely to be women, younger individuals, and to be self-employed or never employed rather than managerial staff. Vegetarians and vegans substituted animal protein-dense products with a higher consumption of plant protein-dense products (e.g., soy-based products or legumes). Vegetarians had the most balanced diets in terms of macronutrients, but also had a better adherence to French dietary guidelines. Vegetarians exhibited a lower estimated prevalence of inadequacies for micronutrients such as antioxidant vitamins (e.g., for vitamin E, 28.9% for vegetarian women <55 years of age vs. 41.6% in meat-eaters) while vegans exhibited a higher estimated prevalence of inadequacies for some nutrients, in particular vitamin B12 (69.9% in men and 83.4% in women <55 years of age), compared to meat-eaters. CONCLUSIONS Our study highlighted that, overall, self-reported vegetarians and vegans may meet nutritional recommendations.
Association between Motives for Dish Choices during Home Meal Preparation and Weight Status in the NutriNet-Santé Study.
Although home cooking has been associated with a lower body mass index in a few studies, no data exists on the motives behind food dish choices during home meal preparation and on their association with overweight. This study aimed to evaluate this association in 50,003 participants from the NutriNet-Santé cohort. Dimensions underlying the importance of 27 criteria possibly influencing dish choices were determined using an exploratory factor analysis. The association between dish choice motives and overweight (including obesity) was estimated using logistic regression models adjusted for sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics. Five dimensions of dishes choice motives emerged: healthy diet (e.g., "nutritional balance of the dish"), constraints (e.g., "my cooking skills"), pleasure (e.g., "originality of the dish"), specific diets (e.g., "my health status"), and organization (e.g., "what I planned to eat"). A negative association was observed between the healthy diet factor and being overweight (OR = 0.65 (95% CI (confidence interval): 0.62-0.67)), whereas a positive association appeared for factors regarding pleasure (OR = 1.14 (95% CI: 1.10-1.19)) and specific diets (OR = 1.19 (95% CI: 1.17-1.22)). No significant associations were observed for constraints and organization. The significant associations between dish choice motives and overweight suggested the interest of focusing on these motives in order to promote healthier food choices during home cooking.