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Home » Here’s Why You’re Addicted to Ultra-Processed Food: Chris van Tulleken (Transcript)

Here’s Why You’re Addicted to Ultra-Processed Food: Chris van Tulleken (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Chris van Tulleken’s talk titled “Here’s Why You’re Addicted to Ultra-Processed Food” at TEDxNewcastle conference.

In this talk, Chris van Tulleken, an award-winning broadcaster and practicing NHS doctor, explores the addictive nature of ultra-processed foods and their impact on health. He reveals that additives in these foods may alter our microbiome, driving excessive consumption, weight gain, and inflammation. Van Tulleken explains that the food industry uses A-B testing to optimize products for increased consumption, similar to strategies used by the tobacco industry.

He highlights the historical merger of the tobacco and food industries, explaining how addictive marketing strategies were transferred to food products. Van Tulleken advocates for using the tobacco industry’s regulatory framework to address issues in the food industry, including interrupting the flow of money and implementing warning labels. He suggests rethinking our relationship with food, proposing a shift from viewing ultra-processed products as addictive to seeing them as unappetizing.

Lastly, he encourages critical engagement with what we eat, urging us to recognize the deliberate design of these products to foster addiction.

Listen to the audio version here:

TRANSCRIPT:

Understanding Food Addiction

Food addiction isn’t a recognized formal diagnosis, yet many of us do feel addicted to certain foods. Now, we diagnose other addictions by asking questions, so I want to ask all of you some questions. I should say these are really personal questions. I don’t do this to diagnose you, I do this to force us all to think about our relationship with food, and I ask these questions without any judgment at all. I also want to say, my answer to every single one of these is yes.

Are there any foods that cause you physical, social, or psychological problems, but you keep eating them anyway? Have you ever tried and failed to stop eating these foods? I want you to think about what the food is, if you’re answering yes. Think about the brand. Do you ever feel like you’re not in control when you’re eating them? Do you ever have cravings for those foods, and do you ever feel guilt?

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