Ultraprocessed Food Linked to Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Mathilde Touvier, MPH, PhD
Head of the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team
Dr Bernard Srour, PharmD, PhD
Inserm, Inrae, University of Paris

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We found that for an increase of 10 in the percentage of ultra-processed food quantity in the diet, we had a significant 15% increase in Type 2 diabetes risk.

We have already shown, in the NutriNet-Santé cohort, associations between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and overall cancer, breast cancer, cardiovascular, coronary heart diseases risk, mortality and depressive symptoms. However, no prior study had studies the associations between ultra-processed food and Type 2 diabetes risk.

We suspected that we would find these associations since some components of ultra-processed foods light have metabolic interactions with human health (some food additives for instance).

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: We advise people to limit their consumption of ultra-processed foods and privilege unprocessed or minimally processed foods (of course in addition to a nutritionally healthy diet (low in salt, sugar, fat and energy density), an optimal BMI and healthy lifestyle behaviours).

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: This is an exploratory study showing associations between the consumption of a wide category of food products and Type 2 diabetes risks. These findings need to be replicated in other cohorts on other populations, and experimental and mechanistic studies are needed to understand the underlying mechanisms of these associations. Our team has launched, under the supervision of Dr Mathilde Touvier (PI) a large scale research project studying the effect on health of chronic exposures to cocktails of food additives. This project has just received a grant from the European Research Council ERC. 

No conflict of interest


Srour B, Fezeu LK, Kesse-Guyot E, et al. Ultraprocessed Food Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Among Participants of the NutriNet-Santé Prospective Cohort. JAMA Intern Med. Published online December 16, 2019. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.5942


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Last Updated on December 18, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD