Doctor’s warning over food that ‘will make you over-eat’ and may shorten life

Smoothies, children’s yogurts, and store-bought sandwiches are all classified as ultra-processed. Speaking on the popular BBC Sounds Just One Thing podcast with diet expert Michael Mosley, Dr Tim Spector, a specialist in gut health and epidemiologist, suggests these food types should come with a health warning similar to cigarettes.

In the UK, we consume the highest amount of processed foods in Europe, which coincides with the highest rates of childhood obesity and diabetes, costing us £58 billion annually.

The issue lies not in the fat, salt, and sugar content, but in the fact these foods only contain extracts of natural ingredients, which is detrimental to our gut health. Processed foods also increase our appetite and leave us feeling unwell.

Dr Spector explained: “We encourage it, it being cheap, it being everywhere including our schools. If you buy a sandwich or smoothie, it’s going to be ultra-processed.”

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Consuming these foods can shorten your lifespan by 10 or 15 years due to the associated health risks. Dr Tim believes these foods should come with a warning that they are cheap and should be consumed at one’s own risk.

Dr Spector said: “It will make you over-eat by 500 calories, you won’t feel full when you eat it you will want to eat more, you will feel slightly sick and your mood will go down, by all means eat it, it’s exactly what we have on cigarette packets.”

Dr Mosley, renowned for creating the famous 5:2 and Fast 800 eating plans, shares his top tips and life hacks on his podcast Just One Thing on BBC Sounds. In one episode, he reveals beetroots are one of the best vegetables to consume.

Dr Spector agrees, considering them a prime example of “food as medicine.” He explained: “It actually reduces blood pressure. In proper randomised controlled trials, this is actually a lot more effective and a lot more pleasant than getting rid of salt.”

Although he didn’t like beetroots as a child, the expert now appreciates their taste. He advised listeners the goal should be to consume 30 different plants each week, including nuts, seeds, coffee, spices, dark chocolate, and fruits and vegetables.

Dr Spector assures that achieving this is easier than it sounds and will enhance gut health, providing more energy.

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