You may want to leave that frozen pizza or ice cream in the freezer aisle.
A new study has found that eating processed foods could contribute to cognitive decline if they consist of more than 20% of your daily calorie intake, according to CNN.
Researchers said that eating more heavily processed foods may lead to weakened executive functioning in the brain, which affects someone’s ability to process information and make decisions.
The study also found that those who ate the most ultra-processed foods had a 28% faster rate of global cognitive decline and a 25% faster rate of executive function decline when compared with people who ate the least amount of processed foods.
Heavily processed foods are defined by the study as industrial formulations of food substances (oils, fats, sugars, starch, and protein isolates) that contain little or no whole foods and typically include flavorings, colorings, emulsifiers and other cosmetic additives.
Examples include hot dogs, burgers, french fries, doughnuts, pre-packaged soups, sauces, soda, cookies, cakes and ready-to-make meals.
The study followed over 10,000 Brazilians for up to 10 years. Roughly half of its participants were women, white or college-educated, and the average age was 51. It was presented at the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego.