I have developed a deep ongoing interest in food–a vegetarian since the 1970s and vegan since 2006.
My interest in diet took a further step from August 2022 during months of experiencing inexplicable high blood pressure with spikes of over 200/90.
In recent weeks, I have been engaged in much research since society experiences a food crisis triggering immense ill health.
Eva from Vienna, who explores the subtleties of a conscious diet, gave me a sharp learning curve in food labels, oils for cooking, supplements, Omega 3 and 6, green vegetables, fruit, nuts, wild mushrooms and more.
There is a tendency for some people to become rigid about food. I appreciated her wise flexibility needed for a healthy diet.
What food and drink we place into that small hole between the tip of the nose and the chin matter! It is not going too far to say that the quality of our life depends on it.
Morrisons Supermarket in Totnes, Devon, UK. with extensive stock of Ultra Processed Foods – as in supermarkets everywhere.
The Cost of an Unwise Diet
Are you eating food?
Are you eating industrial ‘food.’
You pay a price for unhealthy eating –
• Being Overweight,
• Heart Disease
• High Blood Pressure,
• Tooth Decay
• Weak Immune System,
• A long, Lingering Death in hospital or home
• With anguish and grief for your loved ones.
Ask yourself a simple question
Is what is in front of you on the dinner table or restaurant food or processed food wrapped up in combination of harmful chemicals?
Yes, some food requires a processing. Such food has very little impact on your health.
You might add certain ingredients, so you do not eat your food in its original condition as it grew out of the ground, under the ground, or in the bushes or trees.
Ultra-Processed Food (UPF) harms your health over years and decades. The industrial substances in UPF find their way into your stomach and then circulate around your whole body.
You hardly notice the changes, even as your weight increases or your blood pressure slowly goes up or your pulse works faster. You will not find in the shops the industrial edible substances used to increase the taste of food, change the colour or preserve the food longer.
The manufacturers of industrial food design the food to maximise interest to provoke the desire for more.
UPF will in time rob you of your health and peace of mind – two of the most important considerations in our life.
Hospitals, A&E (Accident and Emergency), clinics and consultation rooms, plus the long waits for treatments and operations, show the consequences of UPF in food and drink, along with fat, sugar and salt. No other illness makes people so much and for so long.
Food industry makes industrial food deliberately addictive, which weakens the entire immune system. Look at the millions worldwide who died from Covid. Who were the most vulnerable to die? The vulnerable were those with serious health conditions related to UPF while the diet of the very poor lacked the nutrients to minimise the impact of the Covid virus.
A 2019 study revealed 57% of the average UK diet is made up of UPF. Poor families, men, women and children may have a daily diet consists of 80% ultra processed food.
Are most Members of Government addicted to UPF
The government and industrial food companies refuse to give priority to health. Our political masters refuse to introduce lifesaving legislation. Politicians say they do not want to be a nanny state. They would rather offer a kiddy state – unable to behave as caring adults.
The government does not pass laws to eliminate UPF from our diet, nor even place labels on food (such as Red for high UPF, Amber for medium UPF and green for absence of ultra processed food. Description of content on labels is hard to read due to size of typeface and long list.
Fish and chips get soaked in fat. Potatoes become salt ridden crisps. Milk becomes fat ridden cheese. Twelve spoons of sugar are found in cola drinks. The industry uses sugar used to sweeten countless food items, including the obvious in cakes and biscuits.
Palm oil has high saturated fat, which can lead to heart disease early or later in life.
Is it any wonder that addictive eating and a disintegrating NHS (National Health Service) brings fear and despair to the sick
We, the public, live with an utterly irresponsible government and a morally corrupt food industry. Go into our local supermarket and look along the thousands of items to get a sense of shelf after shelf of ultra processed food.
The mentally sick government and the mentally sick food industry make most citizens physically sick and mentally unhappy about themselves, the state of their body and an inability to change because of the intensity of their addictions and dependency on cheap industrial food.
The doctors and the rest of the medical establishment have little to offer. Many doctors have the same health issues because of their diet. The doctors might recommend a daily diet of green vegetables and fruit. Do doctors honestly think that such mutterings will make a scrap of difference to an unhappy and unhealthy person?
The pharmaceutical industry offers drugs for weight loss or stomach operations as if that is a solution to weight. Gastric bypass is a type of weight-loss surgery to reduce your stomach to the size of a walnut. Will that cure major dietary issues? Has anti-depression tablets stopped the epidemic of depression?
Food Standards Agency (FSA), responsible for food safety and food hygiene in the UK, seems utterly ineffective to rein in the food industrialists living off the profits of public addiction to UPF.
The diet industry exploits the anguish of the public. People go on the latest diet fad. If they keep to the fad, they will lose weight. They will feel good about themselves. It will probably lead to them to encourage friends who want to shed a few kilos.
For the vast majority, the commitment to the diet can’t last. It takes too much effort, too much will power, and slowly but surely the old habits creep back with all the self-rejection and feelings of failure that goes with it. Loss of weight become gain of weight.
Eating food not replacing it with industrial food confirms the key to change.
Here are primary examples of industrial food to avoid buying
In Alphabetical Order
• Chicken Nuggets
• Fizzy Drinks
• Packaged Pies
• Packaged Snacks
Further Examples to Avoid or Minimise Buying
• Diet Drinks and Food
• Baby Food.
• Cereal Bars
• Flavour Enhancers
• Flavoured Yoghurts
• Fruit Drinks
• Many Breakfast Cereals
• Milk Drinks with additives
• Much Bread
Most supermarket breads use the industrial Chorleywood Method to shorten baking time, along with additives and processing aids. Traditional bakers do not consider such bread as ‘real bread.’
Remember, our bodies are sensitive. Industrial food harms our health through regular absorption of UPF, usually on a daily basis.
Download. Open Food Facts App. (Free)
offered by a non-profit organisation based in France. Thousands of volunteers scan barcodes to identify UPFs. The database contains more than three million products.
Cosmetic additives, used to make the final product more palatable or more appealing. Minimise or avoid buying.
• Flavour Enhancers,
• Emulsifying Salts,
• Glazing Agents.
Be mindful of imitation meat – veggie burgers, vegan sausages, vegan bacon etc. and vegan cheeses. Imitation food contains much ultra processed food.
Keep clear of coating on food which contains emulsifiers.
Virtually all fast-food shops contain UPF.
Go to family-run restaurants serving home cooked food. Avoid the chain restaurants.
You can’t get rid of the UPF in the gym, yoga, swimming and so on.
If plant milk contains emulsifiers, stabilisers or flavourings, that milk contains UPF.
Eva wrote in a text to me:
We need to find a manageable way without the high pressure of perfectionism, which easily leads to food disorders. It is important to develop an intrinsic motivation with 85- 90% healthy choices, rather than thinking excessively about food choices.
In my opinion, this is still a healthy way forward for physical and mental wellbeing – as long as you do not require a strict diet because of a severe health condition.
Healthy food on a regular basis matter with allowance for occasional exceptions.
PS. Special thanks to the information in the book and an article in The Guardian.
Ultra-Processed People: Why Do We All Eat Stuff That Isn’t Food … and Why Can’t We Stop?
By Chris van Tulleken
Published April 2023.