Eating unhealthy foods can harm the bone development of young children, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found, based on a study of rodents.
A new study led by Efrat Monsonego-Ornan and Janna Zaretsky, both from the Department of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Agriculture, found that ultra-processed foods can cause reduced bone quality, which is especially harmful for young children. In development.
Published in the journal Bone Research, the study is the first to analyze the link between unhealthy foods and bone development.
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Ultra-processed foods – foods that have been altered from their natural state through several stages of processing and often contain added sugar, fat, salt or artificial preservatives – have contributed to negative health effects on consumers around the world, including increased obesity.
This food is attractive because of its affordability and low prices. Children especially like junk food, with 70% of calories consumed on average coming from ultra-processed foods, according to Hebrew University.
In addition, 50% of American children eat unhealthy foods every day. The study followed laboratory rodents whose skeletons were in the “post-embryonic growth phase”. Those fed ultra-processed foods rich in fat and sugar suffered negative effects in terms of their bone development, such as growth retardation.
In addition, the researchers found a high level of cartilage accumulation on rodent growth plates – areas of new bone growth. Genetic profiles of RNA cells of cartilage exposed to unhealthy food have shown impaired bone development.
After adjusting the diet of laboratory rats, the researchers found that rodents continued to suffer “moderate damage to bone density,” but less cartilage buildup on growth plates.
“Our conclusion was that even in reduced amounts, ultra-processed foods can have a definite negative impact on bone growth,” Monsonego-Ornan said.
“When Carlos Monteiro, one of the world’s leading nutrition experts, said that there is no healthy ultra-processed food, he was clearly right. Even if we reduce fats, carbohydrates, nitrates and other known harmful substances, this food still has its harmful properties.
“Every part of the body is prone to this damage, and certainly those systems that remain in critical stages of development,” Monsonego-Ornan added.