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Ultra-Processed People


An eye-opening investigation into the science, economics, history and production of ultra-processed food.

It's not you, it's the food.

We have entered a new 'age of eating' where most of our calories come from an entirely novel set of substances called Ultra-Processed Food, food which is industrially processed and designed and marketed to be addictive. But do we really know what it's doing to our bodies?

Join Chris in his travels through the world of food science and a UPF diet to discover what's really going on. Find out why exercise and willpower can't save us, and what UPF is really doing to our bodies, our health, our weight, and the planet (hint: nothing good).

For too long we've been told we just need to make different choices, when really we're living in a food environment that makes it nigh-on impossible. So this is a book about our rights. The right to know what we eat and what it does to our bodies and the right to good, affordable food.

‘An unsettling examination of the food we eat [and] a fascinating, but frankly horrifying, investigation into our industrialised food system.’ – Ben Spencer, The Sunday Times

“[Chris van Tulleken] is starting a really important revolution and conversation around what we eat. Books come along once in a while, once every couple of years, once in a generation that meet culture at the exact moment with the exact language, with the exact appreciation of the reader – the nuance, the inclusivity… perfectly timed, written perfectly…such a brilliant book, everyone needs to read it….its these books that end up changing the world… thank you [Chris] for writing such an important book at such an important time.“ – Steven Bartlett

‘As doctors say, this book is going to hurt, exposing the food industry’s underbelly in painstaking, gory, unanaesthetised detail.’ – Adam Leyland, The Grocer

‘Deeply researched and persuasive’ – Sophie McBain, New Statesman

 ‘A fearless investigation into how we have become hooked on ultraprocessed food.’ – Anjana Ahuja, Financial Times

‘Van Tulleken is at his best when using his own scientific expertise to help readers through otherwise unnavigable science, data and history, explaining with precision what we are actually eating […] He speaks with the tenor of an iconoclast, but the book is less an alarm of a new threat than a newish alarm of an old one.’ – Jacob E. Gerson, The New York Times

Ultra-Processed People […] is more than just a great science book: it breaks down a complex issue of cultural, social, economic and political importance with clarity and sensitivity but without moralising; it competently evaluates the scientific literature; and it roams the globe in search of answers.’ – Anjana Ahuja, Financial Times

'A persuasive mix of analysis and commentary…' - Matthew Rees, The Wall Street Journal 

Ultra-Processed People is a tremendously important book … [its] great strength is to integrate concepts of detailed food science and global market forces, showing how these affect individual humans. Tulleken weaves these threads together in a way that is evidence-based, compelling and humane.’ – Vincent Lam, Toronto Star 

“If Super Size Me were an introduction, Chris van Tulleken's book is the Ph.D. course. . . [Ultra-Processed People] is highly readable and van Tulleken writes with the confidence of a doctor who has a reassuring bedside manner.” – Dave Hage, Minneapolis Star Tribune

 ‘Packed with "I never knew that" moments, Ultra-Processed People is a wonderfully playful book that changed forever how I think about what I eat and why.’ - Hannah Fry

‘Incendiary and infuriating, this book is a diet grenade; the bold and brutal truth about how we are fed deadly delights by very greedy evil giants’ - Chris Packham

‘From the legend that is Dr Chris comes this journey through the looking glass of ultra-processed food: eye-popping, enlightening, and - let’s face it - sometimes literally nauseating. A totally fascinating book which put me right off my Doritos.’ – Marina Hyde

‘Chris Van Tulleken’s book is a wonderful and fascinating expose of Ultra Processed Food, edible substances with strange sounding ingredients which are manufactured by some of the wealthiest companies on the planet and which, worryingly, form an increasing part of our diet. As Chris shows, not only have these foods been formulated to ensure that we eat them constantly and without thought, but they hijack our ability to regulate what we eat, primarily by affecting our brains. And he backs up his claims with a powerful self-experiment, along with lots of rigorous and often shocking research. Reading this book will make you question what you eat and how it was produced.’ – Michael Mosley

‘A devastating, witty and scholarly destruction of the shit food we eat and why.’ – Dr Adam Rutherford

‘Everyone needs to know this stuff.’ – Tim Spector

‘Packed with ‘I never knew that’ moments, Ultra-Processed People is a wonderfully playful book that changed forever how I think about what I eat and why.’ Hannah Fry

‘If you only read one diet or nutrition book in your life, make it this one … In clear, humorous and informative prose, Chris lays out what ultra-processed food is and why it is the single greatest problem with modern diets.’ Bee Wilson

‘An engrossing, infuriating read! UPF makes most fictional villains look quaint. You’ve got a diabolical product that scientists and capitalists have literally got into our bodies (even mine?!) profoundly affecting our health and even our thoughts.  Chris van Tulleken has written an astonishingly well-researched book on a plague that most of us aren’t even thinking about, but one whose architects are most certainly thinking about us, with ill intent. Read it and fight back!’ - Rob Delaney

‘A fascinating, forensically researched and ultimately terrifying expose of the food we consume. Van Tulleken leaves no stone unturned, shining his spotlight into the dark corners of what masquerades as nutrition these days. Read it; your diet will never be the same again!’ - Mariella Frostrup

'Brilliantly written, gripping to read, witty and packed with facts (not fats) about our food, most of which are surprising and some of which are thoroughly disgusting! It has changed the way I think about what I'm eating; I'm scrutinising the ingredients in everything, even on seemingly 'healthy' options.’ – Alice Smellie co-author with Mariella Frostrupp of Cracking the Menopause

‘The past 10 years has seen an inflection point in human history, where more people in the world are now dying of eating too much, than of eating too little. This urgent and captivating read digs deep into one of the huge reasons, the rise and rise of ultra-processed food.’ - Giles Yeo

‘Ultra-Processed People is a much-needed, eye-opening exposé. It's full of detailed, fascinating science and gripping revelations about our processed diets and its impact on our health and wellbeing. Beautifully written, each page reveals hidden truths and asks you to re-think and re-connect to food in a way that has been lost for decades. Truly mind-blowing!’ – Megan McCubbin (WinterWatch)

‘Mindblowing. You’ll never see food - or your body - the same way again.’ Professor Alice Roberts

Agent: Zoë Waldie
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