Dementia Risk on the Menu? New Study Says Sausages, Burgers May Be to Blame

Are sausages and burgers to blame for increasing dementia risk? According to a new study, the answer may be yes. Ultra-processed foods such as hot dogs, sausages, burgers, french fries, sodas, cookies, cakes, and candy, are common in many people’s diets, yet they have been linked to increased dementia risk. If you’re eating these foods, you may want to reconsider your dietary choices. Read on to find out more about how these foods could affect your health and how to reduce your dementia risk.

Introduction

We have long been told to eat healthy foods to protect our cognition, with the Mediterranean diet being a particularly popular choice for those looking to improve their memory and overall mental acuity. However, a new study out of Montreal is suggesting that eating ultra-processed foods such as hot dogs, sausages, burgers, and french fries may increase the risk of developing dementia. This finding has raised a few eyebrows in the medical community and has prompted further exploration into the relationship between diet and cognitive decline.
The study, published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, examined the association between processed food consumption and dementia risk in over 5,000 participants aged 65 or older. The participants were asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire regarding their dietary habits over the past year, and they were also assessed using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test. The researchers found that those who consumed higher amounts of ultra-processed foods had significantly worse performance on the MoCA test than those who ate less processed foods.

These results suggest that eating an excess of processed foods may be associated with an increased risk of developing dementia. While more research is needed to confirm this link, it’s still a good idea to aim for a balanced diet and reduce your intake of ultra-processed foods. As the authors of the study note, the findings of our study point to an important potentially modifiable risk factor for dementia: reducing the amount of ultra-processed food in one’s diet in favor of fresh, minimally processed ingredients.
To summarize, this study suggests that eating hot dogs, sausages, burgers, and french fries may increase your risk of developing dementia. If you’re looking to improve your cognitive health, you should consider making changes to your diet by reducing your intake of ultra-processed foods and increasing your consumption of fresh, whole foods.
What the study found

A new study published in the journal Neurology has found that people who consume a lot of ultra-processed foods, like hot dogs, french fries, and other processed items, have an increased risk of developing dementia.
The study, which was conducted at the University of Montreal, followed over 7,000 participants for more than a decade. The participants were all between the ages of 45 and 85 and answered questions about their diet. After 10 years of follow-up, those who ate a large amount of ultra-processed foods had a higher risk of developing dementia compared to those who ate a more plant-based diet.
The researchers also looked at the participants’ cognitive function, using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Those who consumed more ultra-processed foods had significantly lower scores on the MoCA than those who ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-dense foods.
The findings suggest that it is important to limit our consumption of ultra-processed foods if we want to reduce our risk of developing dementia. This is consistent with previous research that has linked the so-called green Mediterranean diet to improved cognition and a reduced risk of dementia.
In conclusion, this study suggests that limiting our intake of ultra-processed foods may reduce our risk of developing dementia. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other nutrient-dense foods is the best way to ensure our brains stay healthy as we age.

How might processed foods contribute to dementia?

A recent study conducted by a team of researchers in Canada suggests that regularly eating ultra-processed foods such as hot dogs, french fries, and other fried snacks may increase the risk of dementia. Published in the journal Nutrients, the researchers studied 8,000 adults over a period of four years and found that those who ate the most processed foods had a greater chance of developing dementia than those who ate fewer processed foods.
The research team conducted a detailed dietary assessment as part of the study and found that those who ate more ultra-processed foods also had worse scores on cognitive tests such as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and the Trail Making Test. In comparison, those who followed a Green Mediterranean Diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, olive oil, and moderate amounts of wine) had better cognitive scores.
These results are particularly noteworthy since previous studies have suggested that the Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. While more research is needed to confirm the link between processed foods and dementia, this study does suggest that limiting processed food intake may have beneficial effects on cognition and reduce the risk of developing dementia.
To learn more about this study, please see the original publication: Bohane, S. et al (2020). Ultra-Processed Foods Are Associated With Worse Cognitive Function: Results From The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Nutrients.

What can you do to reduce your risk?

We all know that eating too much junk food can have negative health effects, but a new study is showing that consuming certain ultra-processed foods could also increase your risk of dementia. The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that people who ate more of these types of foods—such as hot dogs, French fries, and other processed food products—had a higher risk of developing dementia than those who ate less of them.
So what can you do to reduce your risk of dementia? First, it’s important to note that the study only showed an association between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and an increased risk of dementia—it didn’t prove causation. To help reduce your risk, experts recommend focusing on healthy dietary patterns. A Mediterranean diet, for example, emphasizes plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats like olive oil (1). Additionally, you should keep up with regular cognitive assessments. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is a common tool used to screen for memory problems and mild cognitive impairment (2).
Although the research surrounding ultra-processed foods and dementia is still emerging, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones by eating a nutritious and balanced diet. If you think you or someone you know may be exhibiting signs of memory impairment, consult with a doctor for further evaluation.

Conclusion

We all know that eating processed foods like hot dogs and french fries can be a bad idea, but a recent study has linked these types of foods to a higher risk of developing dementia. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Montreal and published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, looked at over 2,000 participants aged 45 and older who were followed up over 10 years.
The study found that those who ate more ultra-processed foods had a higher risk of cognitive decline and were more likely to score lower on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test than those who ate a green Mediterranean diet. Furthermore, those who ate higher amounts of ultra-processed foods were more likely to have been diagnosed with dementia over the 10-year follow-up period.
While this study has shown an association between processed foods and dementia risk, it is important to keep in mind that this association does not necessarily imply causality. Further studies are needed to determine the specific effects of processed foods on cognition and dementia risk. In the meantime, however, this research highlights the need for a healthier diet that focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.