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Junk Science: Health Experts Gaslight Americans On The Definition Of ‘Ultra-Processed’ Foods

Processed food is processed food, and using so-called science to try to circumvent criticism of it is what the three-letter agencies do best.


Last week the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) released a “bombshell” report saying ultra-processed foods (UPF) cannot be causally linked to obesity and that the studies linking the two have been “biased.” Only segments of the report have been made available online.

The DGAC findings inform nutrition labels and public health recommendations for food. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is a joint report published by Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) from 20 nutrition experts tasked with drafting new national nutrition recommendations for 2026-2031.

Considering the three-letter agencies’ track record, particularly the public health response to Covid in this country, I’d think twice before looking to them for dietary advice.

There’s No Debate About ‘Ultra-Processed’

The DGAC report states that since there is not one clear agreed-upon definition of “ultra-processed,” more research needs to be done before they can offer conclusive guidelines on processed foods. As it stands now, a soft drink such as Mountain Dew, probably one of the least nutritious beverages available, is in the same category as your multigrain bread. This, the experts say, provides a less accurate measure of what is or isn’t detrimental to health. The bread, they argue, can be nutritionally beneficial offering fiber (usually nominal at best), vitamins (ones that often have to be added back in because all the original ingredients have been stripped of their essential nutrients), and even some protein (better off just eating a chicken breast with some avocado).

That may be, but processed is processed, and do we really need a long-term laboratory study to tell us that this food — whether it be a Big Mac or boxed mac and cheese — is detrimental to our health? I’d say the past 50 years of abysmal health outcomes and the close to half of Americans who are clinically obese is proof enough. If you think I’m exaggerating, make sure you take a trip through a major airport sometime this summer.

Besides, even the so-called healthiest of bread — let’s say something like Dave’s Good Seed — contains sugar. Sure, it’s organic, and sure, it’s not corn syrup, but it’s still unnecessary sugar hidden in a food that doesn’t need it to make it more addictive — which, if you’ve ever had Dave’s Bread, you know is. That’s why it requires every morsel of willpower I have to keep it out of the house.

Processed food is processed food, and using so-called science to try to circumvent criticism of it, along with the companies that profit heavily by keeping people addicted to it, is exactly what the three-letter agencies do best. That’s not to say things like junk food shouldn’t exist. Simply that it, like poor health, should be the exception, not the rule.

‘Follow the Science’

The report is reminiscent of other “scientific findings” that seem to defy common sense, like those that support transgenderism. Leave it to the scientists to make something fairly simple, like good health, complicated.

One of my favorite quotes about food and eating habits comes not from a doctor or some other medical expert but from writer and purveyor of the natural world Michael Pollan. “Eat. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” I have my criticisms of Pollan, but he is pretty spot-on in his condemnation of the industrial agricultural and food industries.

Intelligent people can debate the merits of plant-based diets over all other nutritional regimens and get into the weeds about macros and high-performance routines, but Pollan’s simple advice would do most Americans a world of good toward achieving better health.

It’s that second line, “not too much,” where many people struggle and those who produce food in the UPF category thrive. UPF may be considered food, but it is in no way nourishment, and nourishment in all forms is what sustains human thriving. Whether that nourishment comes from a mother’s love, a beautiful piece of art, or food, humans need to be fed body, mind, and soul. When something feeds you but doesn’t nourish you, you need more and more of it to feel satisfied. This is addiction, and UPF creates it.

Substance should not be confused with sustenance. We, as a society, are starving. Social media has replaced nights hanging out playing cards and board games. Synthesized beats have replaced guitar riffs and chords at the piano. Food grown in labs and pharmaceuticals have replaced what God has provided us to thrive and heal.

Let not a scientific study confuse what the heart knows to be true. That nothing can replace the real. Real connections. Real men and real women. And, of course, real food.

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