Eating too many pizzas and burgers can knock years off your life, according to scientists.
A study of almost 45,000 people found that deaths from cancer, heart attacks and other illnesses were linked to eating ‘ultra-processed foods’ such as chips, sausages, doughnuts and biscuits.
Researchers claimed that artificial sweeteners – which are present in most snacks – radically change gut bacteria, which increases the risk of diabetes and other diseases.
The report’s author Dr Laure Schnabel from Paris-Sorbonne University said: ‘Ultra-processed foods contain multiple ingredients.
‘The nutritional characteristics of these could partly explain the development of non-communicable chronic diseases among those who consume them.
‘Ultra-processed foods consumption has largely increased during the past several decades and may drive a growing burden of deaths.’
The findings, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, were based on a survey of 44,550 people in France, who kept diaries of what they ate for a week.
Worryingly, Malta has one of the highest and most alarming rates of obesity in Europe, according to the World Health Organisation.
Last year, a study of 19 European countries found 50 per cent of food sold in the UK was ‘ultra-processed’ compared with only 14 per cent in France.