Processed Food Documentary Stirs Things Up

A 42-minute video report from the German broadcast service DW has proven quite popular on YouTube, with well over a million and a half views and nearly three thousand comments since it appeared a month and a half ago. “Junk Food — The Dark Side of the Food Industry” is about allegedly healthful junk food and obesity.

It highlights, among other atrocities, the ability of giant corporations to extend their tentacles into every nook and cranny of any country. This is especially true of Nestle, the most massive food and beverage company on earth; which among other egregious errors believes that it should be able to buy all the water in the world and sell it back to people for many, many times more than what the corporation pays for it.

Nestle produces over 2,000 brands of products, and the public relations department claims a “presence” in 188 (or, according to another source, 194) countries, although that just means an office or something. Actually, it is unlikely that the behemoth’s presence is not felt in every single country there is.

People need jobs, so it would be unfair to hate on most of the over 300,000 employees. The blame accrues to the relatively small number of top executives… and to the lust of investors for “passive income,” no matter how much damage is inflicted on the world’s population or the planet it lives on.

Too little, too late

The guilt resides within the processed foods that are high in caloric content, but often do not even make a person feel full. Nestle acknowledged it, at least within the company. Admittedly, it has since removed some products from its roster, which might not even be among the most harmful, and may have been slated for extinction anyway, for any number of reasons. The record of correction is not very impressive, and only makes critics ask, “Why haven’t you done more? And sooner?”

Back in 1999, in a secret meeting of top food industry execs from the USA’s eight biggest food-selling giants, one CEO admitted culpability and the need for change, but all the others were angry at this betrayal.

At the same time, Nestle and other corporations continue to legally challenge the rules against misleading labels. They resist including any sort of warning labels, which supposedly inspire “unnecessary fear” in consumers. They try to deceive the public with claims that labeling is not beneficial. This behavior, in turn, brings about accusations that they show nothing but contempt for customers, and indifference to the suffering caused by intensely processed foods containing way too much sugar, salt, and fat.

But the corporations are kind enough to tell governments that the real need is for education programs, a spurious argument to which any government might very well reply, “No, we would prefer for you to stop doing those reprehensible things that the public, unfortunately, needs to be educated about.”

Speaking of deceptive labels, there are 15 pseudonyms for sugar (or more like 56, according to another source), so customers can be easily fooled.

This site lists several categories of Nestle sins, including “Promoting Unhealthy Food and Mislabeling.” Out of all the various breakfast cereals, they make half the ones that contain the most sugar, fat, and salt.

The big companies which should concentrate their resources and efforts on feeding people decently, instead are top-heavy with gigantic legal departments. All this litigious talent allows them to continue abusing their customers and, less directly, everyone else.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Junk food, sugar and additives — The dark side of the food industry | DW Documentary,” YouTube, July 2023
Source: “Nestle’s Water Controversy, Explained,”, 12/27/21
Source: “About Us,”, undated
Source: “Why Nestle is one of the most hated companies in the world,”, 05/08/23
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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.
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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.

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