A seven-year study, published in the journal Jama Internal Medicine, found that early deaths were more likely to occur in those who ate more ultra-processed food.
The researchers worked with more than 44,000 participants in France over a seven-year period, and concluded that those who regularly consumed ultra-processed foods including ready meals, biscuits and packet soups had a 15% higher mortality rate.
Hattie Shepherd, Policy Officer for Food and Health at the Soil Association says:
“This study suggests we are sitting on a time bomb of diet-related disease and ill-health that could cripple our NHS. With 51% of family food purchases in the UK made up of ultra-processed food, British families are already eating the most ultra-processed diets in Europe. A disorderly Brexit is likely to make this worse with the price of fresh fruit and veg set to soar in the event of a no-deal, making a healthy diet unaffordable.
"While Food for Life have welcomed the Government’s proposals on calorie labelling outside the home, and the introduction of the sugar tax, we need to see a shift in policy from calorie reduction and product reformulation. Action must be taken that will enable families to eat a varied diet full of fresh, affordable, and minimally processed ingredients.”