Six foods Britons eat everyday that raise risk of heart attack or stroke by 24%

Dr Hilary Jones on the health risks of 'ultra-processed' foods

Diet is a key factor that affects our overall health and wellbeing.

It is widely known and accepted that certain foods can help shield against some health issues while others can trigger them.

Although many of us know which foods are better for us than others, convenience and cost often influences what we actually eat.

Now health experts are warning this could be setting Britons up for a myriad of potentially dangerous conditions and diseases in the future.

Two new studies revealed that eating ultra-processed foods significantly raises the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

READ MORE Health warning as British diets of processed foods is killing us slowly

The findings, which were presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, have sparked serious concern that people in the UK are at risk of a “tidal wave” of complications as it is believed around 57 percent of what we eat comes under this category.

One of these studies, conducted by the Fourth Military Medical University in China that included more than 325,000 participants, found people who ate more ultra-processed food than others had a 24 percent higher risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Speaking about the research, former Government food adviser and co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, Henry Dimbleby warned: “Britain is particularly bad for ultra-processed food.

“It is storing up problems for the future. If we do nothing, a tidal wave of harm is going to ­hit the NHS.”

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And on ITV’s Lorraine show today, Doctor Hilary Jones, said: “We’re the worst in Europe for this.”

He added: “They’re [ultra-processed foods] not healthy because they’re very rich in energy.

“So [they’re] very calorific, with a lot of saturated fats, not good for our heart and our circulation.

“They contain plenty of oxidant additives which is not very good for us and not necessarily lots of micronutrients, which are healthy.”

What is ultra-processed food?

Many foods need to go through some kind of processing to get to the end result.

But there is a big difference between foods that are minimally processed or just processed, compared to ultra processed.

Processed foods, for example, can typically be made at home such as jam or homemade bread.

However, ultra processed foods usually contain various additives that are not used at home.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) states that a simple way to work out if something is ultra processed is if it contains five or more ingredients.

It warns of six popular foods that Britons eat regularly that are classified as ultra processed. These are:

  • Ham and sausages
  • Crisps
  • Mass-produced bread
  • Biscuits
  • Fruit-flavoured yoghurts
  • Instant soups.

Dr Hilary also urged people to use the five or more ingredient rule, as well as looking for ingredients “you can’t pronounce” or “wouldn’t use in your own home”.

He advised: “So the healthiest foods are almost completely unprocessed or minimally processed. So fruit, vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds.”

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