They classified foods including cakes, chicken nuggets and mass-produced bread as "ultra-processed".
What the scientists found was that a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a significant increase of greater than 10% in risks for overall cancer and breast cancer.
Ultra-processed foods are, according to The Guardian, food items made in "factories with ingredients unknown to the domestic kitchen".
This harmful "ultra-processed" food, as the researchers called it, may include packaged sweet pastries and muffins, chips, candy, sodas, frozen dinners like meatballs and fish sticks, instant ramen noodles, sugary cereals, and pretty much anything else you can imagine that's cheap and comes in a ready-to-go packet or container at the store.
In part this is because processed foods are also associated with obesity, which has been linked to cancer risks, Linda Bauld, of Cancer Research UK, told the BBC. But through the years, researchers have linked sugar to increased risk of cancer and heart disease, and other studies have put red and processed meats under a similar spotlight.
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SCR 100 would urge the OEHHA to comply with Proposition 65 and warn individuals of their potential exposure to this harmful substance by amending California Code of Regulations, title 27, section 27001 (b) to add "processed meat (consumption of)" to the list of "chemicals known to the state to cause cancer".
Of note: Americans get more than half of their daily calories from highly processed foods. Each person was tasked with responding to two online dietary questionnaires that were created to record their intake of around 3,300 different types of food items.
While the findings are significant, no firm conclusions can be drawn because they are based on an observational study of almost 105,000 healthy French adults who completed two 24-hour online dietary questionnaires and a review of their health records. Nevertheless, the study sample was large and they were able to adjust for a range of potentially influential factors.
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They emphasized the necessity for additional studies in the field to better understand the effects of the various stages of processing.
They were 23 per cent more likely to develop cancer of any type over the next five years than those in the bottom quarter, whose diet was only 8 per cent ultra-processed food.
Some of the packaging that processed foods come in might also be cause for alarm.
Several well-known risk factors for cancer, such as age, sex, educational level, family history of cancer, smoking status and physical activity levels, were also taken into account.
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