Further research is need to confirm the study findings, said the authors, who suggested that additives, packaging (chemicals get into the food during storage) and the processing itself (including high-temperature processing) may be why ultraprocessed foods can harm health, CNN reported.
A team in France worked with more than 44,000 people in a study running from 2009 called NutriNet-Santé.
The chances of someone dying in the next seven years increases the more sugary drinks, factory-made breads and biscuits, candies and chocolate bars, mass-produced and packaged snacks, ready meals and processed meat they have in their diet, the study found. The study concludes that the deaths were more likely to occur to individuals who ate more ultraprocessed foods.
The study also found that 61 percent of an adult's diet comes from ultra-processed food. But the researchers hypothesized that these foods could contribute to a shorter life span in a number of ways - for example, by increasing a person's risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases. On average the highly processed foods made up 14 per cent of their diets by weight.
"Some factors may be more harmful or less harmful than others". More than half the United Kingdom diet is ultra-processed food, the Guardian revealed past year.
Each 10 percent increase in the proportion of ultraprocessed foods in the participants' diets was linked with a 14 percent higher risk of death over the 7-year study period.
Ultraprocessed foods are processed through industrial methods and can contain additives.
"Ultraprocessed foods are mostly consumed in the form of snacks, desserts, or ready-to-eat or -heat meals", and their consumption "has largely increased during the past several decades", the authors wrote. "More needs to be done to address these inequalities".
Some scientists argued that the study's categorization of ultraprocessed foods was too wide and therefore not strong enough to come to a confident conclusion, according to The Guardian.
For the study, the researchers calculated each participant's overall dietary intake and consumption of ultra-processed food.