Chris Van Tulken on how ultra-processed food harms your health and the solution

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From cocktail sausages to ready meals, ultra-processed foods have long been suspected of being nutritionally inferior. Most dietary guidelines say so because it is high in fat, sugar and salt. But she’s missing something vital, says doctor, academic and TV presenter Chris van Tullken in his new book, Ultra-Processed People: Why Do We All Eat Things That Aren’t Food… And Why Can’t We Stop?

What really determines a food’s nutritional value, says van Tullken, is how it’s made: at home or in a factory. The idea highlights not the individual ingredients, but the way they are processed, reformulated and cooked, that affect our health. The industrial techniques used to make many modern foods not only add unhealthy ingredients, but also change the way the foods themselves interact with our bodies, says van Tuelken — and ultra- With processed food now making up more than half of all foods consumed by many. In Western countries, there are devastating consequences for the health of much of the world. he tells new scientist What can we do to reverse this trend?

Claire Wilson: Why is ultra-processed food worse than the food we make at home?

Chris Van Tulken: The industrial processes involved in manufacturing food change its chemical and physical composition. They reduce food crops to their basic components, such as high fructose corn syrup made from corn starch or hydrolyzed vegetable proteins from soybeans, which are then reformulated into highly palatable and caloric substances. These processes strip away fiber and micronutrients. Then stuff gets thrown in that our bodies haven’t evolved to cope with…

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