This is a terrific interview, filled with fascinating information and confounding of so many conventional understandings. Here’s just one that really struck me: “About those drugs that's so interesting is if you take the drug and you don't gain weight, but you continue eating the foods that drive other diseases, the effects where ultra-processed food seems to be associated with cancer, all cause mortality, dementia, anxiety, depression, cardiometabolic disease, that's when you adjust for obesity. So you don't have to gain the weight to have those effects. It's not that those things are caused by the weight gain, they're independently caused. And so you can be taking your Wegovy and you'll still have an elevated risk of cancer unless you change your diet. So these drugs are not going to get us out of the hole. They're going to be wonderful for some people who need to lose weight, but they're terribly expensive and they should not let the government off the hook of making sure that good food is available.”
Kudos to Dr. Topol for his endless, intelligent curiosity about all manner of things (and extra kudos for paying attention to nutrition!), and kudos, of course, to Dr. Van Tulleken for his deep research and compassion. Thank you both so much.
I come away from this interview still with very little understanding of what ‘ultraprocessed’ means. At what point , with which additives does it become ‘ultra’? It reminds me of Justice Stewart being unable to define pornography but saying “I know it when I see it.” The analogy to pornography seems apt in that it seems mixed up in puritanical standards about judging what is good for people. If Pornographers make it difficult for people to control their sexual appetites and adhere to bourgeois standards of sexual appetites, leading to disease, dissolution and ruin, food manufacturers make it difficult for the lower classes to control their diets in the way that we know is good for them.
important subject--I have ordered the book and it will go to the top of my TBR stack--BUT this transcription is difficult to read Please consider having your transcriptions edited.
Very timely! I’m finishing this book now and it is the best book on food and nutrition and weight I have read in the last 10 years. I thought I knew a lot about nutrition but this book has introduced me to new concepts about ultraprocessing and put ideas I have known about together in a compelling manner. I now look at food labels with a new level of knowledge that I had no idea I lacked.
Thank you for a fascinating interview. The evidence is also compelling that adding glyphosate to our ultra-processed food 30 years ago has made those food products even more detrimental to health.
Close to 2,000 studies are indexed in the NLM on glyphosate and toxicity; the vast majority show toxicity. I have included some of the more recent studies below.
UC Berkeley published a study demonstrating that increased glyphosate levels in the urine of five-year-olds were associated with increased biomarkers for metabolic disease by the time these same children were tested at age 18. https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/full/10.1289/EHP11721
A NHANES survey showed glyphosate in the urine of 82% of the population sampled and an inverse correlation between levels of glyphosate in the urine and estradiol and testosterone levels in the blood. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653523000620?via%3Dihub
A group in Taiwan further evaluated that same data and found a correlation between these same increased levels and a decrease in cognitive ability and an increase in depression. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S001393512301664X
The effect of glyphosate-based herbicides on the microbiome may well be one of the main causes of the adverse effects on health. There are 150 papers on glyphosate’s effect on microbiomes; again, most show adverse effects. This study by a European group describes a significant effect on the human microbiome. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.16.472928v1
If the topic interests you, I would love to provide more data supporting the idea that the daily intake of these glyphosate-based formulations is a significant co-factor in the worsening health of populations worldwide.