“Ultra-Processed People” hopes to disgust Americans into dumping poor diets (Harvard)

British physician Chris van Tulleken argues ultra-processed foods have negative long-term effects on our health.

Our food is making us sick, and it’s only getting worse. Chronic food-driven illnesses like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer affect more Americans than ever and are contributing to falling life expectancy and rising health costs.

For decades, researchers have tried to figure out why Americans suffer from so much food-related illness. We’ve thought the problem was too much sodium, or saturated fat, or added sugars—or maybe too little fiber or too few vitamins and minerals, like vitamin D and magnesium? But what seems to be good or bad for us keeps changing, in part because of our nation’s halfhearted approach to nutrition research. Potential culprits of disease are everywhere. And consumers just feel confused.

Enter British physician Chris van Tulleken. In his new book, Ultra-Processed People, he points to an intriguing suspect: industrial and synthetic food.

New book review:

The Book for Purchase on Amazon:


Related Viewing:

“Poor diet is the leading cause of early death on planet earth for human beings”

Related Reading:


Most ultraprocessed food is terrible, but keto bread… (that said, whole foods’s feels more like food than thinslimfoods…)

Isn’t MOST chocolate UP

Home cooking is the way to go. It’s nice to have a freshly prepared meal with lots of vegetables every day.

I love to eat fish that had been swimming in a tank an hour before I eat it. It just tastes so much better that way.


I wonder if I should dump the following from my diet–

marine collagen peptides (about 5 g/day)
quinoa/pea protein powder (about 20 g/day)
Aldi soymilk (about 1/2 cup/day)
Kite Hill yogurt (about 30 g/day)
raw wheat germ (about 15 g/day)
“extra virgin” olive oil (about 10g/day)

That’s more than 10% of my daily kcals. I didn’t include the frozen corn.

Everything else I eat is pretty much unprocessed except for applying heat to cook my beans, dark greens, and overt starches.


Those are all great things. Why drop them?

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They are all processed. I’m not sure they are doing more good than harm. They all serve a purpose, though.

marine collagen peptides (about 5 g/day)–I think this is improving my skin. Took a long time to see. I wish that I had metrics to confirm.

quinoa/pea protein powder (about 20 g/day)–without it, I doubt I’d exceed 30 g usable protein/day.

Aldi soymilk (about 1/2 cup/day)–I put this in my coffee.

Kite Hill yogurt (about 30 g/day)–a base for my fruit salads

raw wheat germ (about 15 g/day)–for spermidine

“extra virgin” olive oil (about 10g/day) --helps me to consume massive quantities of veggies. In the words of Mic the Vegan, “70 lb/month is child’s play.”


They all seem great to me.

I think the article is probably warning against bacon, sausage, pepperoni and fruit loops.

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I’m thinking about adding protein powder to my vegan Med diet, since I can’t bother with tofu, maybe a lot of tempeh could be an alternative… I won’t hit 1.6 g/kg but maybe 1.3 g/kg which isn’t too bad either.
EVOO is a part of the Med diet.

Processed food can be healthy. Protein powders help with sarcopenia.
Healthy food is important, not whether it is processed or not.

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There’s multiple levels of “processed” foods. Look for NOVA. Group 4 are the worst — “ultra” or UPF.

  • Group 4 - Ultra-processed foods. They are the ones that use many ingredients including food additives that improve palatability, processed raw materials (hydrogenated fats, modified starches, etc.) and ingredients that are rarely used in home cooking such as soy protein or mechanically separated meat. These foods are mainly of industrial origin and are characterized by a good pleasantness and the fact that they can be stored for a long time.
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I’m sure the average person increased their exercise to make up for the increase in calories :wink:

Interesting side-note, it would be about 20,000 steps per day walking (for the average sized person, walking an average speed), to burn the added 800 calories people are consuming on average.

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This chart is already 10 years old. I shudder to think about where the line is now.

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Ah, ultra-processed food is a lot different from processed food.
I do think it’s good to have a small ingredient list for supplements for example. I will stop with creatine tablets when I run out and just use powder as there are much fewer ingredients, for example.

I recognize the hangover effect he mentions. Ultra processed food is high in sodium, low in water, as well.
This is probably why America is so obese.

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The authors of a Comment article in @NatRevCardiol examine the association between the increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods and their negative effect on cardiovascular health.

In this Comment, we critically examine the association between the increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods and their negative effect on cardiovascular health. We explore the historical evolution of food processing, the Nova food classification and the epidemiological evidence, and highlight the need for urgent public health interventions.



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Isn’t that food produced [or bought] per American, NOT food eaten per american?

I think it’s eaten not produced.

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The famously fat Irish are #1 in kcal/day, according to the UN: The 2020 endpoint below is 3850 kcal.

You can make your own charts here:

Wikipedia has a table:

BI labels the UN data as ‘Daily Calories Consumed’. Wiki calls it ‘Food Energy Intake’

But in the end it’s total calories made available to the consumer end market. Divide that by population and you get per capita calories The statisticians do allow as to how ‘wastage’ by the consumer may result in somewhat less actually being consumed. Still…

Of course, from another angle, we get the hair on fire ‘Forty percent of food is wasted!’ meme.

Subtract 40% from 3700 and I think you get a more accurate estimate of actual per capita calorie consumption.

IMO, it’s all clickbaity manipulative bullshit.

If someone buys UPF, they are eating it.