Increasingly strong scientific evidence is associating the consumption of refined foods with many different pathologies, including certain types of cancer – explains Professor Daniela Lucini, Head of the Humanitas Department of Exercise Medicine. In particular, the regular consumption of refined foods, i.e. foods that have undergone preservation treatments such as cold cuts, ready-to-eat products, smoked and salted foods, as well as products that require the use of preservatives and additives, foods rich in sugars and refined starches, has been shown to increase the risk of breast and colon cancer, cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction, hypertension, angina and heart failure, and diseases such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. On the other hand, however, there is also scientific evidence that demonstrates the considerable benefits of a healthy diet and an active lifestyle, in the primary and secondary prevention of pathologies associated with the consumption of refined foods. In fact, reducing the consumption of these foods and moving to a lifestyle that includes fresh foods such as fruit and vegetables (compatible with intestinal pathologies), white meat and untreated fish, legumes and whole grains, promotes the intake of foods rich in antioxidant vitamins, mineral salts, proteins and carbohydrates important for the health of the body. In addition, practicing physical activity on a regular basis, avoiding sedentary activity, i.e. seizing every possible opportunity to move around, promotes control of body weight, avoiding excess weight and obesity, contributes to the maintenance or development of muscle mass and improves metabolism, just as a “drug” would do for wellbeing and general health.