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Saturday, May 11, 2024

Ultra-Processed People: The Science Behind Food That Isn't FoodUltra-Processed People: The Science Behind Food That Isn't Food by Chris van Tulleken
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been reading on this subject matter for well over 20-25 years, with a continually increasing realization, over and over, that the real problem is in processed foods -- not so much fats, carbs, etc.

Here's the real deal. Shaming people for being overweight is becoming an increasingly stupid idea when greater and greater of percentages of people in certain parts of the world are in epidemic territory. It's not willpower. It's the FOOD.

When fresh foods made healthily are more expensive because they can't be kept fresh for almost indefinite amounts of time, when you can't mass produce them easily, both regular people and corporations have found it much more cost effective to use tons of chemicals to fake out a healthy meal, pretend to freshness, and seriously enhance, or even create a genuine addictive element, then we're running into the big, BIG problem of capitalism.

When we're faced with big corporations, be it Coke or the consolidated monsters of the aggro community, it's all about the bottom line. Constant growth, constant new profits. So, make the product addictive, process it to an inch of its life, make sure that people keep consuming.

The problem is multi-fold, of course, but the big one is the cycle that keeps the profit margin growing, be it massive advertising, squeezing out any and all alternatives, outright lying about the effects, whether in studies, marketing, or pushing deregulation and giving kicks to the government.

We know WHY it keeps going. But this book also goes into the SCIENCE and a full review of all the studies, including new ones, that point to the real facts: that these processing methods, including zero-sugar alternatives, flavor enhancements, spoilage prevention, all lead to very hard-core changes to our gut's biome. Sugar-free items do approximately nothing for weight loss. They're on the same level as sugared items. On the other hand, because so many of these chemicals are designed to make you feel like you could consume forever (or actually make you malnourished) then we're all constantly taking in a vast extra amount of calories despite being careful.

And this, in my humble opinion, is probably the most outrageous trap that we've all fallen into. Yes, all these processed foods are cheaper, but even while they might be considered neutral for your health, they are tricked, chemically, into making us want more and more of it. In a word, exactly like an addiction. A chemical addiction.

And THAT is fantastic for the bottom line. For them to replace all real food so they get rich. Cornering the market is more like creating a market of slaves.

And we let it happen to us. Fast food everywhere, plastic wraps on massively modified food products everywhere else. Chemicals that look like the ingredients on degreasers and shampoos, ingested hungrily despite decades of warnings against it.

And all because it is convenient -- and because all our safe alternatives are either hard-to-get or time-intensive to use.

We've all been had. We let it happen to us. All of us.

And let's make no bones about it: we ARE in an epidemic. None of these companies have any incentive to do the right thing. And we are forced into worse and worse choices.

Cook for ourselves? Sure. I'm doing it so much, too. But it isn't enough. Marketing will lie to all our loved ones, our children, and we few are like lone voices in the wilderness. We have to make a change, but big money won't be able to profit off it.

This book is great, by the way. It's VERY rage-enducing, but in a good way. I love all the focus on the science. It's a proper update for today.

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