New studies are confirming that ultra-processed foods are harmful, which was expected, but in ways that may have no better solution than better transparency leading to bans.
…researchers have theorized that ultra-processed foods increase inflammation because they are recognized by the body as foreign – much like an invading bacteria. So the body mounts an inflammatory response, which has been dubbed ‘fast food fever’. This increases inflammation throughout the body as a result.
How do they classify a food as ultra-processed?
These foods are also not labelled as such on food packaging. The best way to identify them is by looking at their ingredients. Typically, things such as emulsifiers, thickeners, protein isolates and other industrial-sounding products are a sign it’s an ultra-processed food. But making meals from scratch using natural foods is the best way to avoid the harms of ultra-processed foods.
Processed means not raw or made from raw ingredients — many stages of complicated processing such as the industrial polysaccharide polymer “guar gum” often found in inexpensive dairy products to transform their viscosity (prevent proper crystallization and melt).
While it’s true labels on food packaging don’t say processed, when you see ingredients on food more than six things long… you’re typically getting into processing.
Ice-cream for example should be a short list such as this Strauss label:
That company is yelling at you for a reason. Their label is in fact revealing a huge difference from a list of ultra-processed ingredients like this:
Basically if you see guar gum in ice cream it’s a symptom for you to run, don’t walk, away from its ultra-processed “viscosity” not to mention all its other questionable additives.
That might sound like a new idea but it reminds me of a 1516 “purity law” from the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt, which said beer can only contain barley, hops and water (yeast was later added).
Initially this allow list was only within the Duchy of Bavaria and it gradually expanded across German states becoming a modern German law in 1906. Talk about precedent…