Why We Can't Stop Eating Food That Isn't Food
#1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER An eye-opening investigation into the science, economics, history and production of ultra-processed food. "If you only read one diet or nutrition book in your life, make it this one" —Bee Wilson It's not you, it's the food. How much of our daily caloric intake comes from ingesting substances that, technically speaking, do not meet traditional definitions of “food”? Chances are, if you’re eating something that came wrapped in plastic and contains a funky ingredient you don’t have in your kitchen, it's most likely—almost definitely—ultra-processed food, or UPF. More than the principal obstacle to “eating right,” UPF has been linked to metabolic disease, depression, inflammation, anxiety, and cancer, while the production, distribution, and disposal of UPF and related products globally is known to cause devastating environmental damage. At the same time, UPF represents the dominant, nigh-unavoidable food culture for millions upon millions of eaters. Medical doctor and broadcaster Chris van Tulleken has spent his career trying to reframe the conversation around eating right, balancing the hard (and sometimes shocking) facts about what we're putting into our bodies with empathy for the natural desire to keep eating what we like, have time for, and can afford. As he argues in this book, we are all participants in an experiment we didn't consent to, one to determine how to get us to buy as much ultra-processed food as possible. It’s not as simple as stumbling across the right diet trend, finding time to meal plan, or avoiding over-indulging in sugar, fat, or carbs or any other culprit. Nor is it a matter of individual will. It’s about learning to live in “the third age of eating”—defined by the overwhelming abundance of ultra-processed eating options—and arming yourself with the simple and not-so-simple facts that will help you make the choices that are right for you.