August 1, 2023
The Horrors of Ultra Processed Food (And Why We Can't Stop Eating It)
You ever get the feeling when you finish reading a book that you're a different person? Transformed, awakened, illuminated? Well I just had one such Aha! momment.
Not even 20 minutes since closing the last page of Chris van Tulleken's book “Ultra-Processed People” I am typing this review with viguor.
The book takes a deep dive into the world of ultra pricessed food (UPF). The author goes as far back as the manufacture of the first synthetic margerine (created by nazis from coal by-products, ew), to the way UPF is produced, marketed and sold today.
Ever wonder why Coke is best served cold? Are you curious about what emulsifiers actually do once they reach your gut? Do you want to know why there was a big hoo-ha a few years ago about whether Jaffa Cakes are technically a cake or a biscuit? Ever wonder what % of your peanut butter is actual peanuts? Well, my friend, you are about to have your socks knocked off!
Chris does a stellar job at unpacking the history, science and nutrition surrounding UPF, as well as offering a glimmer of hope toward the future of nutrition. He is not patronising or judgemental of individual choices - in fact, he presents a strong case that for many living in our times, ‘choice’ is non-existant. It's an illusion.
Every chapter is packed to the brim with hard facts and data, presenetd in a non judgmental and rather witty way. He goes into the nitty gritty of why foods are designed to taste the way they do (spoilers, it has nothing to do with nutrition or taste and everything to do with profit margins), he talks about the environmental and even evolutionary ways UPF is shaping our world.
The single most important and mind blowing statement when refering to this hyper processed foods was 'It's not food. It's an industrially produced edible substance.' 🤯
I went through my cupboards and read labels and ingredient lists, gasping with a new awareness and a lot of disgust at what I had previously accepted as healthy food choices.
I’m gobsmacked. I thought I knew a lot…yet I had a lot left to learn!
I want to send this book to politicians, conglomerates, friends, family, supermarkets - anyone who will listen. I’d go as far as to say that this should be essential reading for everyone.
This book may very well change the way you choose to eat - and perhaps even your lifelong health. Do yourself a favour and get a copy.