Health Ultra processed food is the n°1 enemy of good health


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About 80% of the food you find in supermarkets is ultra processed. This includes all breakfast cereals, the vast majority of frozen and ready dishes, juices and sodas, biscuits/cookies, snack bars, breadsticks, cakes and industrial breads, and many more things. The food in fast food restaurants and canteens is also ultra processed. This video explains why it's bad for a health and how to avoid it.

Here are some videos of real experiments of eating lots of ultra processed foods versus normal food by Dr Chris van Tulleken. Chris studied medicine at Oxford University and is now a professor and researcher at the University College London.

The following in-depth video is extremely interesting and I highly recommend you to watch it and its entirety.

A very detailed recent study (mentioned in the video above) showed that ultra processed food doesn't just cause obesity but also cardiovascular diseases, cancers (especially colon, prostate and breast cancer), diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease), irritable colon syndrome, anxiety, depression, frailty, dementia and increased risk of death...

Chris mentioned that they are about 500 food additives in the UK (about the same in the EU), but between 5,000 and 15,000 in the US and that even the FDA doesn't know the exact number. That goes a long way into explaining why the US population has a much higher obesity rate, but also why public health in general is much worse with a considerably lower life expectancy than in other Western countries. In fact life expectancy in the US is now lower than in Cuba, and it is one of the few countries where it is decreasing. That's what an excess of ultra processed foods does to a population.

Several European countries use a Nutri-Score system that gives a rating from A to E based on the nutritional value of the food you buy. The Nutri-Score system is probably going to be extended to all the European Union soon. Nevertheless some products with a good nutrient score can be ultra processed food and therefore ultimately bad for your health. Unfortunately the nutrient score system only looks at the percentage of sugar, salt, saturated fats, fiver and vitamins, but not (yet) whether the food is ultra processed or not. That's probably because the big corporations of the food industry have been lobbying against this.
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If you are unsure if some food products are ultra processed or not you can check the Open Food Fact website. For example I found out that almost all chocolates are ultra processed, but some brands of organic chocolate are just processed (e.g. Bonneterre). Same for breakfast cereals. Only some organic brands sold in organic shops were listed as processed instead of ultra processed.
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I took some time to browse various products in supermarkets and scan them with the Open Food Fact app. I was surprised to see that many similar products can be either processed (fine) or ultra processed (bad). For example:

- Butter (most are processed but some are ultra processed)
- Vegan milks (soy, oats, almond...)
- Pesto and pasta sauces (about half-half)
- Juices (only a few 100% fruit juices aren't ultra processed)

So it can be worthwhile checking and comparing products before buying.

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