‘Eating ultra-processed food for a month aged my body by 10 years’

Dr Chris Van Tulleken doesn’t want to ban bacon sandwiches outright – but he does have a serving suggestion. “I just want there to be a warning on the packet saying this food is associated with increases in obesity, cancer and death,” says the 42-year-old television doctor. “And then you can go ahead and enjoy it.” 

After coming for our bacon sarnies he wouldn’t stop there: fish fingers, baked beans, all the childhood staples which most of us grew up on (and have returned to sneakily for lunch during this year of lockdown). “In Britain, we don’t have a food tradition,” Dr Van Tulleken says, witheringly, with the result that, “British cooking has all been ultra-processed.” 

Ultra-processed is the stuff of ready meals, biscuit tins, breakfast cereals and school lunch boxes. To deconstruct the bacon sandwich, “ultra-processed” would typically apply to the industrialised white loaf, mass produced and chemically cured

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