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It’s Time to End the Tyranny of Ultra-Processed Food

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Diet-related disease—which includes obesity, heart attack, strokes, cancer, and dementia—is the leading cause of early death in the UK. Driving it is a set of industrially processed products that are sold as food, known formally as ultra-processed food (UPF).

This type of food is usually wrapped in plastic and has additives that you won’t find in a typical kitchen. In the US and the UK, we get on average 60 percent of our calories from UPF products like pizza, bread, breakfast cereals, biscuits, and nutritional drinks. They’re often sold as healthy options, but it’s just a way of turning our ill health into money. UPF is a byproduct of a complicated financial system that involves repurposing waste from animal food into human food.

To solve this problem, the first thing we need to do is include in the official UK guidance about nutrition the information that ultra-processed foods are associated with weight gain and diet-related diseases, and that the recommendation for people is to avoid these foods. Many countries like Brazil and France already do this.

Limiting the…

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