Lifestyle Health Eating Highly Processed Foods Linked to a Risk of Earlier Death A new study found that people with diets high in foods like cereal, chicken nuggets and instant noodles had shorter lifespans By Julie Mazziotta Julie Mazziotta Twitter Associate Editor, PEOPLE Health People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 14, 2019 01:31 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Getty Want to live longer? Then stay away from foods like chicken nuggets, instant noodles and packaged cookies. According to a new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, eating those highly processed foods is linked to a shorter lifespan. A group of researchers studied the food and health habits of 44,000 men and women in France, all 57 and over, for seven years, and tracked how much of their diet was made up of these “ultra-processed” foods. During that span, 602 of the study participants died; 219 from cancer and 34 from cardiovascular diseases. The researchers said that for every 10 percent increase in consumption of ultra-processed foods, the participants had a 14 percent increase in their chance of death, even after adjusting for smoking, obesity and other environmental factors, Forbes reports. VIDEO: McDonald’s Adds Cinnamon-Sugar Donut Sticks to Its Breakfast Menu But study co-author Mathilde Touvier, a research director at Inserm, the French public health research center, cautioned that eating foods with “ingredients that usually include additives,” as they explained in the study, is not a death sentence. “This is an association, and we cannot prove that it is causal,” Touvier told the New York Times. “People may be scared and think they’re going to die if they eat these foods, but we need not be alarmist.” This isn’t the first study to find a link between processed foods and a shortened lifespan — another, published in June 2017, found that eating fried potatoes at least twice week had similar results, thanks to high amounts of salt and fat. On the other end of the spectrum, coffee, cheese and spicy foods all had health benefits — so pass the hot sauce.