Study: Cognitive decline linked to ultra-processed foods

Research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in 2022 suggests that eating ultra-processed foods for more than 20% of your daily calorie intake everyday could set you on the road to cognitive decline. Ultra-processed foods make up more than half of American’s diets.

Ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are foods that undergo significant industrial processes and contain large quantities of fats, sugar, salt, artificial flavors, colors, stabilizers, and preservatives. Examples include sodas, sugary breakfast cereals, white bread, potato chips, and frozen foods, such as, pizza, ice cream, hamburgers, and fries.

In the study, scientists at the University of São Paulo, examined the diets and cognitive function test results of more than 8,000 adults in Brazil over 8 years. Research found that people who consume the highest amount of UPF (more than 20% of daily caloric intake) have a 28% faster decline in global cognitive scores — including memory, verbal fluency, and executive function.