Higher consumption of ultra-processed foods and increased likelihood of central nervous system demyelination in a case-control study of Australian adults

Publication Name

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition


Background: Consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPFs) has been linked to risk of chronic diseases, with scant evidence in relation to multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods: We tested associations between UPF consumption and likelihood of a first clinical diagnosis of central nervous system demyelination (FCD) (267 cases, 508 controls), a common precursor to MS. We used data from the 2003–2006 Ausimmune Study and logistic regression with full propensity score matching for age, sex, region of residence, education, smoking history, body mass index, physical activity, history of infectious mononucleosis, dietary misreporting, and total energy intake. Results: Higher UPF consumption was statistically significantly associated with an increased likelihood of FCD (adjusted odds ratio = 1.08; 95% confidence interval = 1.0,1.15; p = 0.039), representing an 8% increase in likelihood of FCD per one energy-adjusted serving/day of UPFs. Conclusion: Higher intakes of UPF were associated with increased likelihood of FCD in this Australian cohort. Nutrition education and awareness of healthy eating patterns may benefit those at high risk of FCD.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Funding Number

NMSS RG 3364A1/2

Funding Sponsor

National Multiple Sclerosis Society



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