An article earlier this yr within the European Journal of Vitamin reported that prime consumption of ultra-processed meals is linked to worse-than-average efficiency on one specific check of cognitive perform in older US adults (60+ years-old) who didn’t have persistent illnesses similar to diabetes or heart problems. The actual check was “Animal Fluency.” By no means heard of it? Me both. Hold studying.
The research included 2,700 members, common age 69. Individuals had been requested to recall what they ate within the prior 24 hours. Meals had been “categorized in response to NOVA, a meals classification primarily based on the extent and function of business meals processing, into 4 mutually unique teams: (1) unprocessed or minimally processed meals, (2) processed culinary elements, (3) processed meals, and (4) UPFs [ultra-processed foods].”
Extremely-processed meals? “…most meals described as “Frozen meals” or “Lunchables”, in addition to some objects described as consumed in “Restaurant quick meals/pizza” or acquired at a “Merchandising machine” had been categorized as UPFs.” Moreover, the authors write within the introduction that “UPFs, in response to the NOVA classification system, are industrial formulations of processed meals substances (oils, fat, sugars, starch, and protein isolates) that include little or no entire meals and sometimes embody flavourings, colorings, emulsifiers, and different beauty components. UPFs have gotten dominant in diets globally and are changing conventional diets primarily based on unprocessed and minimally processed meals.
Of your entire research inhabitants at hand, UPFs had been about half of all energy consumed however ranged from 30 to 70%.
“Cognitive efficiency was assessed utilizing the Consortium to Set up a Registry for Alzheimer’s Illness (CERAD), Phrase Studying check, Animal Fluency check, and the Digit Image Substitution check (DSST).”
The Animal Fluency check “evaluates categorical verbal fluency (govt perform).” “For the Animal Fluency check, the participant is requested to call as many animals as attainable inside a 60-s [60 seconds, I assume] time interval. Every animal corresponds to 1 level and the result’s introduced as the whole sum of factors.”
The check topics got two different exams of cognitive perform however the investigators discovered no variations in efficiency primarily based on ultra-processed meals consumption. Listed below are these different two exams:
The 2 components of the CERAD Phrase Studying check include (1) three consecutive studying trials, the place the participant was requested to recall a listing of ten unrelated phrases instantly after their presentation. Every phrase corresponds to 1 level, and the result’s introduced as a complete rating throughout the three trials (vary 0–30); and (2) a delayed phrase recall check, carried out after the 2 different cognitive exams. The outcome ranges from 0 to 10. … For the DSST, the participant is introduced a single sheet of paper the place they’re requested to match a listing of 9 symbols to numbers in response to a key situated on the highest of the web page. The duty had 133 numbers and the participant had 2 min to finish it. The result’s proven as the whole variety of right matches. For all of the exams, greater scores characterize higher cognitive perform.
The authors conclude: “Consumption of UPF was related to worse efficiency in Animal Fluency, a cognitive check that assesses language and govt perform in older adults with out pre-existing illnesses similar to CVD [cardiovascular disease] and diabetes, whereas no associations had been noticed for these with these circumstances. Whereas longitudinal research are required to supply stronger proof, these outcomes recommend that reducing UPF consumption could also be a solution to mitigate age-associated cognitive decline and cut back the danger of dementia.”
I agree these outcomes aren’t very robust.
Steve Parker, MD
h/t Jan at The Low Carb Diabetic weblog