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“I ate only super-processed foods for a month and felt like I was 10 years old.”

These are some of Dr. Christopher van Tuleken’s most dislikes: hemorrhoids, constipation, insomnia, Anxiety, heartburn, headache, rapid weight gain, mood swings, addiction. And the doctor will experience them all as a result of the experiments he did in his new BBC1 documentary. What do we feed our children?

In a highly talked-about program in the light of the government’s stated commitment to tackle obesity in a recent Queen’s speech, Dr. Van Thuleken examined the harmful effects of super-processed foods (UPFs).

These include products such as: Carbonated drink, Sweets, biscuits, cakes, pastries, mass-produced bread, cooked meals. Doctor’s diagnosis? That UPF is causing a disturbing spike in obesity among our children.

World wide, Childhood obesity Prices have increased tenfold in just 50 years. In the UK, 21% of children graduating from primary school are currently classified as obese. This is the highest level I have ever seen.

To test his theory, the 42-year-old drug did what all self-respecting scientists since Dr. Jekyll did and experimented on their own.

He follows an 80% UPF diet for 4 weeks. At the end of the experiment, he was tattered, bruised, 6.5 kg heavier, and deeply alert. “I turned 10 in four weeks,” he moans. Super size me, eat your heart.

He also has to find a cure for hemorrhoids at a local pharmacy. It was not ordered by a doctor.

But despite the expert’s keen awareness of the damage he’s doing to himself, Dr. Van Thuleken can’t stop his overeating at all. When he turned a documentary and gorgeous chocolate pudding into a wolf, he says, “I don’t enjoy it, but I can’t stop it.”

“It’s a bit like a marriage,” his wife quickly jokes.

What is the reason for this? Worriedly, van Tulleken discovered that UPF could be addictive. Anterior-posterior MRI scans of his brain revealed for the first time that this high UPF diet connects the reward center of his brain to the area that drives repetitive autoresponders.Usually this is what you might see Addictive person..

Doctors are particularly plagued by this apparently addictive quality of UPF. “It’s not exactly the same effect on the brain as smoking or drinking, but it’s very similar,” he says.

“When I experimented, I had an addictive relationship with this food. I ate in a way I really couldn’t control.

“Many of us eat to solve problems. Food is a new drug and is very acceptable. You feel you should treat yourself, and the ads tell you that it’s okay I will tell you. “

Of course, it’s very easy for us to get hooked on this more fare, and its addiction doesn’t happen by accident. According to Dr. Van Thuleken, the food industry has spent years and millions of pounds refining the “super-preference” of their products, the deliciousness for you and me.

Companies try to increase the synergies between different ingredients in foods, such as fats, salts, sugars and carbohydrates, to make them as delicious as possible. These companies run focus groups to identify the “points of bliss” they reach when they enjoy their meals.

Dr. Vantureken’s experiments have real urgency. For the past 40 years, our weekly shop has been overwhelmed by UPF. This cheap and convenient food source makes up the majority of our calories. Up 64% of what UK children consume is now UPF.

Experts are so worried about the spread of obesity that Brazil has banned UPF advertising and France and Canada have recommended limiting its consumption.

“UPF is the cigarette of our time,” Dr. Van Thuleken argues, and his passion is evident in his voice. “When we smoked, we were inhaling carcinogens and it took a long time to realize that they were causing lung cancer.

“Similarly, we’re consuming a lot of unusual and novel calories, and strangely, we’re all overweight. When we find that UPF promotes obesity, It’s like all theories. “Of course, this is this kind of food!”

What is counted as a processed food?

Foods fall into four groups. The first is “unprocessed and minimal processing” that includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish and milk and does not add any raw materials.

“Processed foods” include oil, butter, vinegar, sugar and salt. “Processed foods” are a combination of these first two groups. For example, smoked and hardened meats, cheese, freshly baked bread, bacon, salted or sugared nuts, canned fruits with syrup, beer, wine, etc.

What causes food to be defined as “super-processed”? These products contain chemicals, colors, sweeteners and preservatives not found in homemade foods. An analysis of the UK diet from 2008 to 2014 found that the most commonly eaten varieties were industrialized bread, packaged meals, breakfast cereals, sausages, and other reconstituted meat products. I did.

Next are sweets, biscuits, pastes, breads, cakes, industrially produced chips, soft drinks, potato chips, sauces and dressings. Baked beans, canned soups, meat substitutes, soybeans, and milk replacers are also important.

Avoid foods with long ingredient lists and too many unrecognizable ingredients. According to a survey of about 20,000 people from 1999 to 2014, eating more than 4 servings of super-processed foods per day “independently increases the risk of death from all causes by 62%. It turns out that it is related. “

Is the government ready to take this issue seriously, as shown in the Queen’s speech last week? In the case of Dr. Vantureken, there is no jury. “I’m very cynical,” he admits. “I can say what you want in a speech, but I’m not applauding.

“I don’t believe it until I see a significant reduction in the incidence of childhood obesity, the appearance of supermarkets is different, and the appearance of packet labels is different. Simply campaigning doesn’t work. Culture cannot change significantly without changing the eating habits of children at school. “

But this is not a party political issue for doctors. He states: “Everyone knew that this train was slowly on track, but now it’s gaining speed and momentum. Children are still growing. This is all since the 1970s. It’s a government failure. “

Dr. Van Thuleken, who is investigating the effects of infant formula on babies, has seen the devastating effects of overweight in the immediate vicinity of his home. Last year, while producing a documentary about a pandemic, his twin brother and fellow doctor, Xand, caught Covid-19.

As a result, Xand suffered from atrial fibrillation, and Chris had a very painful experience of seeing doctors stop and resume Xand’s heart and adjust its rhythm.

Dr. Van Thuleken said his brother is fine now, but “he lived in the United States in a very stressful environment with lots of UPF. Xand has an addictive relationship and is quite weight. He got it very, very badly when he got the Covid-19, and he still has a heart condition. Now he Is losing weight, but it’s not easy. “

This may all sound like despair advice, but Dr. Vantureken categorically argues that the situation could change better. The solution “needs to treat and regulate UPF as a harmful and addictive substance,” he argues.

He says it’s important to learn lessons from ways in which our views on other industries have changed over the decades.

“The most successful thing about tobacco was the TID, a campaign called” denormalization of the tobacco industry. ” It taught people that the tobacco industry is not normal, it is funding huge policy changes that hurt people, corrupt science, and benefit themselves. When people know it, they stop feeling they are a failure. “

One of the most important factors can be the key to changing the attitude of society towards UPF. It’s anger. “Angry is really important,” says Dr. Van Thuleken. “If you accept that there are 10 giants that are very directly benefiting from your illness, you can get angry and you can go.” I’m not going to buy it anymore. I’m going to buy an apple instead. “

It should definitely keep the doctor away.

What do we feed our children? Will appear on BBC One at 9pm on May 27th

“I ate only super-processed foods for a month and felt like I was 10 years old.”

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