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Low Water Intake and Ultraprocessed Foods

Dehydration is a surprising risk factor from eating heavily processed foods.

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Potato chip on top of a water bottle

The more ultraprocessed foods you eat—such as hot dogs, ice cream and cookies—the more likely your fluid levels will be redlining from lower water intake, according to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Investigators looked at just over 24,000 participants in a national nutrition survey in the U.S. and compared total water intake with consumption of ultra-processed foods. As ingestion of these foods went up, water consumption typically dropped. What’s more, since chips and other highly processed foods tend to have very low water content, it becomes even more essential to hydrate when eating them. And yet, as shown here, people tend to do the opposite. Perhaps chronic dehydration is another way that consuming too many ultraprocessed foods contributes to poor health.

See also: More Evidence That Ultraprocessed Foods Lead to Obesity and Diabetes

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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