The Link Between Ultra-Processed Foods and Insomnia Risk

Ultra-processed foods (UPFs) have become a significant part of modern dietary habits. However, recent studies indicate that these types of foods can lead to various health issues. In this article, we will explore the relationship between UPFs and chronic insomnia. Study Findings A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and supported by Elsevier shows a significant association between UPF consumption and chronic insomnia. The study took into account sociodemographic factors, lifestyle, diet quality, and mental health status. Research Methods Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD, from the Division of General Medicine and the Center of Excellence for Sleep & Circadian Research at Columbia University, explains, “At a time when more and more foods are highly processed and sleep disturbances are rampant, it is important to evaluate whether diet could contribute to adverse or good quality sleep.” This large epidemiological study utilized NutriNet-Santé data from over 39,000 French […]

The Link Between Ultra-Processed Foods and Insomnia Risk

Ultra-processed foods (UPFs) have become a significant part of modern dietary habits. However, recent studies indicate that these types of foods can lead to various health issues. In this article, we will explore the relationship between UPFs and chronic insomnia.

Study Findings

A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and supported by Elsevier shows a significant association between UPF consumption and chronic insomnia. The study took into account sociodemographic factors, lifestyle, diet quality, and mental health status.

Research Methods

Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD, from the Division of General Medicine and the Center of Excellence for Sleep & Circadian Research at Columbia University, explains, “At a time when more and more foods are highly processed and sleep disturbances are rampant, it is important to evaluate whether diet could contribute to adverse or good quality sleep.”

This large epidemiological study utilized NutriNet-Santé data from over 39,000 French adults. The study was ideally suited to address this question due to its inclusion of sleep variables and detailed dietary information. Data were collected every six months between 2013 and 2015.

Findings

Participants reported obtaining approximately 16% of their energy from UPFs, and nearly 20% reported chronic insomnia. Individuals with chronic insomnia consumed a higher percentage of their energy intake from UPFs. The association between higher UPF intake and insomnia was observed in both males and females, with the risk slightly higher in males.

Expert Opinion

Pauline Duquenne, MSc, from Sorbonne Paris Nord University and Paris Cité University, notes, “It is important to recognize that our analyses were cross-sectional and observational in nature, and we did not evaluate longitudinal associations. While the data do not establish causality, our study contributes to the existing body of knowledge on UPFs.”

Conclusion and Recommendations

The results of this study suggest that UPF consumption may increase the risk of insomnia. Researchers recommend that future studies test causality and evaluate associations over time. However, individuals experiencing sleep difficulties are advised to examine their diet and consider reducing their UPF intake.

References

  • Elsevier
  • Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Duquenne, P., et al. (2024). Ultra-processed food intake as an independent risk factor for chronic insomnia. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2024.02.015
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