Wednesday , April 17 2024

UPF yoghurts are no cause for concern

[Re: Hunt should toss out nanny state concerns and tackle poor health]

Dr Dolly van Tulleken warns of a mysterious new foe: ultra-processed foods (UFPs). According to Dr van Tulleken – and the wider health lobby, which has launched a concerted attack on UPFs in recent months – UPFs are everywhere and we need protecting from them.

But what are UPFs? They have “a complex scientific definition,” writes Dr van Tulleken. According to the British Heart Foundation, they include ice cream, ham, sausages, biscuits, carbonated drinks, and fruit-flavoured yoghurts. In other words, they are normal, everyday essentials. The term ‘UPF’ is utterly meaningless. These foods are not causing a health crisis. It would be absurd for the state to crack down on them.

Dr van Tulleken goes on to say UPFs are “linked to almost every major health condition, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and obesity”. The nature of these links remains unexplained. Are we to believe strawberry yoghurts cause cancer?

Besides anything else, the nanny-state anti-obesity policies she demands have never, ever succeeded in reducing obesity or calorie intake. The IEA’s Christopher Snowdon, among others, has comprehensively debunked the claim (which Dr van Tulleken alludes to) that the sugar tax meaningfully reduced sugar intake. All it did was make drinks more expensive (and worse). Boris Johnson binned the junk food ad ban after government research found it would remove 1.7 calories from kids’ diets per day (about half a Smartie’s worth.)

Dr van Tulleken’s fearmongering about so-called UPFs is unnecessary and irresponsible. Readers should continue eating their strawberry yoghurts in peace. Your health will be fine.

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