Upon further investigation, they discovered regular consumption of foods with low nutritional quality was associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer and cancer of the upper aerodigestive tract and stomach.
Women who ate foods with low nutritional value had a greater risk of being diagnosed with liver and postmenopausal breast cancer, and men who ate poorly had an increase risk of lung cancer.
"In this large multinational European cohort, participants with the highest FSAm-NPS DI scores, i.e., those consuming on average food products with a lower nutritional quality, were at higher risk of developing cancer overall," the authors wrote in the study.
Despite the results, the analysts did acknowledge their limitations. They said the data the evaluated was self-reported and may not have been fully accurate. However, they noted “this study was the first effort to investigate the association between the FSAm-NPS [Dietary Index] and disease in a large European cohort.”
They now hope their findings will encourage policy makers to implement better policies for food labeling.
"This [study]," they said, "supports the relevance of the FSAm-NPS as [an] underlying nutrient profiling system for front-of-pack nutrition labels, as well as for other public health nutritional measures."