The true horror of the ultra-processed food dominating our diets – by doctor who ate it for a month in the name of science
The ultra-processed food takeover of our supermarket shelves has reached a crescendo.
From ready meals to frozen desserts, even the majority of bread is ultra-processed, crammed with sugar, salt and a bewildering array of preservatives.
But just how bad for your health is it to tuck into a bowl of ultra-processed cereal for breakfast, or to gulp down a pre-packaged sandwich from the high street?
To get answers, Doctor Chris van Tulleken embarked on a month-long experiment, getting 80 per cent of his diet from UPF. And the results make for stomach-churning reading.
Dr Chris van Tulleken was left aching, tired and angry – and felt like he had aged ten years
In just a few weeks, he gained 6kg (just under one stone). He was left aching, tired and angry – and felt like he had aged ten years. More terrifying still, MRI scans at the end of the experiment revealed his brain had started to develop new pathways, something more associated with addictive drugs than food.
Could UPF be as addictive as alcohol or drugs? Dr van Tulleken thinks so, saying: ‘Until recently, most scientists believed it was impossible for food to be addictive. Yet I know from my experience that I felt very strongly “addicted” to certain types of UPF (chiefly takeaways).’
Click here to read the first extract of Dr van Tulleken new book on The Mail+, as a major new series begins in the Mail – Ultra-Processed People: Why Do We All Eat Stuff That Isn’t Food… and Why Can’t We Stop?