Can Hyperprocessing Be Halted?

Interesting bits of news often show up about food and how it is rendered suitable (?) for us to eat, and other related topics. In fact, the public has become used to hearing about the unwisdom of the whole food-tampering enterprise, and also accustomed to not doing much about it.

In the 2010s, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publicized its findings about the main sources of calories for people over two years old. These include grain-based desserts, yeast bread, chicken dishes, sugar-sweetened carbonated soda, energy and sports drinks, pizza, alcohol, pasta… The whole list of top 25 items is pretty horrendous.

Several charts and tables on this MarketWatch page tell regrettable stories. One chart compares average mid-century restaurant portions with the present. An order of french fries, used to be 2.4 ounces, and went up to 6.7. The size of the average hamburger has tripled. An average portion of soda used to be 7 ounces and is now about six times as much. Charles Passy wrote:

If it sometimes seems as if our kids’ eyes are too big for their stomachs, perhaps it’s not their fault. The fact remains portion sizes have dramatically increased since the 1950s — a situation the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dubbed “The new (ab)normal.”

There does not seem to be much fresher research intended to rank the most calorie-laden popular foods. One reason for that could be that preliminary inquiries were made, and the answers indicated little change. However, last summer JAMA Pediatrics published some conclusions about 9,025 British youngsters in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

Were we surprised when Sarah Crow wrote the following?

Researchers discovered that ultra-processed foods — including frozen pizza, soda, packaged bread, cakes, and pre-packaged meals — made up between 23.2% and 67.8% of total food grams consumed.

Not very surprised at all. The writer quoted senior clinical lecturer Ezter Vamos, Ph.D.:

One of the key things we uncover here is a dose-response relationship. This means that it’s not only the children who eat the most ultra-processed foods have the worst weight gain, but also the more they eat, the worse this gets.

In the U.K. and the U.S., there are strong movements to regulate the availability of harmful foods that can afflict a child with lifelong health repercussions.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “6 real culprits that are making American kids fat,”, 01/18/15
Source: “Eating This in Childhood Makes You More Likely to Become Obese, Study Says,”, 06/15/21
Image by Knowing Roger/Public Domain

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources