We have an uncanny ability to pick out the subtle distinctions in calorie density of foods, but only within the natural range. Processed food interferes with this ability, encouraging weight gain.
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A key insight I want to emphasize here is the concept of animal products as the ultimate processed food. Basically, all nutrition grows from the ground: seeds, sunlight, and soil. That’s where all our vitamins come from, all our minerals, all the protein (all the essential amino acids). The only reason there are essential amino acids in a steak is because the cow ate them all from plants. They’re essential—we can’t make them, and the animals can’t make them either. They have to eat plants to get them. But we can cut out the middlemoo and get nutrition directly from the Earth, and in doing so get all the phytonutrients and fiber that are lost when plants are processed through animals. Even ultraprocessed junk foods may have a tiny bit of fiber still left, but all is lost when plants are ultra-ultraprocessed through animals.
Having said that, there was also a big jump in what one would traditionally think of as processed foods, and that’s the video we turn to next: The Role of Processed Foods in the Obesity Epidemic (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-r…).
We’re making our way through a series on the cause of the obesity epidemic. So far, we’ve looked at exercise (The Role of Diet vs. Exercise in the Obesity Epidemic (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-r…)) and genes (The Role of Genes in the Obesity Epidemic (https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/the…), The Thrifty Gene Theory: Survival of the Fattest(http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-t…)). But really, it’s the food.
If you’re familiar with my work, you know that I recommend eating a variety of whole plant foods, as close to the way nature intended. I capture this in my Daily Dozen Checklist, which you can download for free here (https://nutritionfacts.org/daily-doze…), or get the free app on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dr.-g…) and Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/de…). You will see that there’s also an option for those looking to lose weight: my new 21 Tweaks. But before you go checking them off, be sure to read about the science behind the checklist in How Not to Diet (https://nutritionfacts.org/how-not-to…). Get it for FREE at your local public library (but if you do choose to purchase it, note that all proceeds from all of my books go to charity.)
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Thanks for watching. I hope you’ll join in the evidence-based nutrition revolution!
-Michael Greger, MD FACLM