How your favourite foods could be increasing your risk of debilitating illness | The Sun

BREAKFAST cereals, fizzy pop and chicken nuggets bump up your risk of a debilitating stomach condition, a study has found.

Canadian researchers discovered people who eat lots of ultra-processed foods are more are more likely to develop Crohn's disease.

Two years of data from more than one million peoplerevealed the risks behind our favourite foods.

Study author, Professor Neeraj Narula from McMaster University, said: "Ultra processed foods shift your [gut] microbiome towards dysbiosis.

"This leads the immune system to react against certain microorganisms in the bowel and triggering an inflammatory pathway that leads to Crohn's disease," he explained.

Dysbiosis is what happens when important gut bacteria is out of balance.

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Other ultra-processed foods include ham, crisps, pizza, sweets and chocolate.

Prof Neeraj said Crohn's disease is also linked to non-Mediterranean diets, high consumption of red meats, as well as diets low in fibre, zinc and potassium.

But the exact cause of Crohn's is still relatively unknown.

Experts believe genetics, smoking and certain stomach bugs might bring on the disease.

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What are the common symptoms of Crohn’s?

Without treatment, symptoms of Crohn’s disease can be constant or may come and go every few weeks or months.

The main symptoms of Crohn's disease are:

  • diarrhoea – which may come on suddenly
  • stomach aches and cramps – most often in the lower-right part of your tummy
  • blood in your poo
  • tiredness (fatigue)
  • weight loss

Source: NHS

The life-long condition, which causes inflammation of the digestive system, is increasing in prevalence worldwide.

One study found cases of all inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in the UK have risen by 33 per cent between 2006 and 2016.

Over half a million people – one in every 123 – in the country are thought to be living with a form of IBD, according to Crohn's and Colitis UK.

In the US, the CDC has similarly noted an increase in cases.

Prof Neeraj said the surge in cases is down to the "westernisation" of diets, including increased amounts of ultra-processed foods.

"Aside from Crohn's disease, such foods carry other health risks including diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease," he added.

The findings were published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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