You might be eating ‘predigested’ food. Seriously

According to a recent CNN report, people may overeat unhealthy ultraprocessed foods (chips, cereals, etc.) because of a manufacturing process that predigests the raw ingredients. The process allows the foods to bypass the body’s signals of fullness, leading to overeating.

“The bulk of what is extracted is starch slurry, a milky mixture of starch and water, but we also have extracted proteins and fibers,” Starch Europe explained in a video, as seen below. “Roughly half of the starch slurry goes to produce starch-based sugars and other derivatives. Those are created by hydrolysis, a process similar to human digestion.”

University College London associate professor Chris van Tulleken told CNN a combination of sugar, salt, fat, glue-like emulsifiers and artificial colorings get added to those slurries. They are heated up and shaped into the final product.

“It could be a pizza if you put some cheese and tomato on top. It could be a burger bun. It could be a grain bar, a breakfast cereal, ice cream or confectionery — they all have the same list of basic starting ingredients,” he said.

“It’s an illusion of food. But it’s really expensive and difficult for a food company to make food that is real and whole, and much cheaper for food companies to destroy real foods, turn them in molecules, and then reassemble those to make anything they want.”

A clinical trial published in 2019 found evidence that ultraprocessed foods can consequently make people consume more calories and possibly gain weight.

“On the ultraprocessed diet, people ate about 500 calories more per day, and they ate at a faster rate,” study author Kevin Hall told CNN. “This is the first study to demonstrate in a controlled environment that ultraprocessed foods cause people to eat too many calories and gain weight.”