Small but highly controlled study: ultra-processed foods hijack health - 5/16/19 Journal of Cell Metabolism



“Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake.”

Study of 10 males and 10 females (the only kind of controlled study I pay attention these days involves femaes) is the first randomized, controlled trial to prove the sense and reasonable math that eating a diet made up of ultra-processed foods actually drives people to overeat and gain weight compared with a diet of a few generations back - made up of whole or minimally processed foods.

Some of the hormones that are involved in food intake regulation were quite different between the two diets as compared to baseline. “When the participants were eating the unprocessed diet, they had higher levels of an appetite-suppressing hormone called PYY, which is secreted by the gut, and lower levels of ghrelin, a hunger hormone, which might explain why they ate fewer calories. On the ultra-processed diet, these hormonal changes flipped, so participants had lower levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone and higher levels of the hunger hormone.”

Another interesting finding: Both groups ate about the same amount of protein, but those on the ultra-processed diet ate a lot more carbs.

“These are landmark findings that the processing of the foods makes a huge difference in how much a person eats. That’s important, because the majority of foods now sold in the U.S. — and increasingly, around the globe — are ultra-processed.”

Simply put: Ultra-processed foods usually contain many ingredients made in labs and create more chaos, craving, and addiction. Real foods come from the living land and its creatures and are Mother Nature’s provisions for hormonal healing. :herb::cow2::avocado::coconut::chicken::sheep::fish: :herb:

Studies showing Sweeteners that Raise Insulin Levels?
Insulin Sensitivity - What is the science

About time Kevin Hall made himself useful again. :wink:

(Carl Keller) #3

This should come as no surprise. Yet another reason to stick to real food… just like our ancestors did for a million years.

(Empress of the Unexpected) #4

Eh - eating keto for a year. Reality - miss snacks. Without willpower I could totally go back…But loving the weight loss.

(Bunny) #5


When I look at that at those lines they almost mirror each other polar opposite?

(Alec) #6

Maybe Mr Hall is learning…

‘Hall says he was surprised by his findings, because many people have suspected that it is the high salt, sugar and fat content in ultra-processed foods that drives people to gain weight. But “when you match the diets for all of those nutrients, something about the ultra-processed foods still drives this big effect on calorie intake,” Hall says.”

There’s something else going on here, right, Kevin? Now, can you work it out???


Yep some gut sensors influence appetite and insulin. So the Insulin Hypothesis isn’t dead yet, just incomplete.

Also, “sugar” as used in common language is a processed food!


This has been studied before, but it seldom gets the type of attention a guy like Hall will bring to it. Even the type of processing that is done has an effect. For example, bread is worse than pasta., adding fiber back in doesn’t help.

[appropriate studies linked in show notes]

Can I not count the carbs in certain vegetables?
(CD) #9

The ultra processed meals had vegetable oil (often margarine) while the unprocessed meals were cooked with olive oil ( It’s nice that Hall blames a wide variety of culprits, but it seems to me that this study supports Dr. Eades’ hypothesis (


Part of the conclusion was the old “further study is needed” to isolate the different factors. I’m all in favor of that.


I’m surprised by the findings comparing glucose and insulin response between the 2 diets. I really thought they would have seen some difference there, but maybe if the test was done on someone already unhealthy it would look different?

BUT… when comparing unprocessed to baseline we see some differences. There’s a whole chart of these values included in the long version of the study.

The unprocessed diet led to reduced adiponectin, total cholesterol, hsCRP, and total T3, whereas free T4 and free fatty acids were increased compared to baseline. Uric acid decreased after the ultra-processed diet compared with baseline. Triglycerides and HDL cholesterol were significantly decreased compared to baseline after both diets. After the unprocessed diet, fasting glucose and insulin levels tended to decrease compared to baseline, and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (Matthews et al., 1985) was significantly decreased compared to baseline.


It would be really interesting to see unprocessed LCHF/keto (ancestral, bascially) compared to standard high carb unprocessed vs Ultra-processed.

THAT would of course be the natural next step for Kevin Hall and other researchers, if they’re truly curious and want to speed public health reform.

sidenote: I love how Phinney & Volek’s Virta Health has just embarked on a diabetes-reversal program with the U.S. Veterans Administration - and all their case studies will go into their research reporting etc.

(Bob M) #13

I’m also a big believer in PUFAs causing overeating, though I myself ate few of them while initially getting heavy.


A look at some of those processed industrial oils/PUFAs worth eliminating.
It doesn’t go into the fantastic for fats for deep frying (ghee, refined coconut oil, bacon fat, lard, tallow, etc).


Sherry Strong (who was formerly obese and recomposed half her body mass) is a Food Philosopher, Nutritional Strategist, Chef’ Co-Founder of the World Wellness Project, former; Victorian Chair of Nutrition Australia, and Melbourne President of Slow Food. Her book is called ‘A Return To Food – the life-changing anti-diet’ which is centered on real foods (which, in industrial society, are generally accessible to the most privileged people in the top half of society - and outside industrial society, real foods are inherent in intact, land-based indigenous & aboriginal cultures.)

This recording of her as a presenter in Tokyo, Japan is wonderful - on the impact of denatured foods across cultures and lifespans, incorporating photography from the famous photographic book The Hungry Planet (which came out in 2005, and I loved it).

“As soon as money gets into food, it becomes compromised. Great food takes time… hunters and gatherers took time. Nature has an inbuilt mechanism against obesity. Food has the power to nourish, energize, and protect you, and the power to make you sick.”

“The most powerful nutrients that nourish and promote growth, aren’t necessarily in the food but the social context of the food. How we eat is as powerful as what we’re eating. The healthiest cultures on the planet are eating in accordance with nature and sharing meals with people they connect with.”


And Megan Kimble, the author of Unprocessed, on her one-year experiment in eating only real foods. (Again, she had a variety of reasons why and how she had access to quality real foods in the city).