We usually think of food as having an effect on us from the mouth down.
Why study its impact on our brain?
Our gut microbiome affects virtually every aspect of health. It affects our metabolism, our blood glucose, our body weight.
It affects the way genes turn on and off, and the amount of serotonin in our brain by altering the way the gut breaks down tryptophan [from protein] in our diet.
It influences the stress response system. It affects the way the [energy-producing] mitochondria in our cells work, and it very profoundly influences our immune system.
So if you start to think about all of those things, all of which are very much involved in mental and brain health, and that diet is a key factor that affects the gut microbes, then you can see why we need to think about what we’re eating and what we’re not eating in relation to our mental and brain health.
Yes I can, so far so good, let’s see how she answers the questions from Callum.
And ultra-processed foods play a particularly unusual part in that?
It’s a question that science doesn’t yet have all the answers for. There is already some research that tells us that when a western junk food diet is given to young people who normally eat a fairly healthy diet for a week, we can see there are impairments in the cognitive functions of the hippocampus [an area of the brain].
We and others have shown that people who have a less healthy diet have a smaller hippocampus, and people who have a healthier diet have a larger hippocampus.
I love her honesty, she did not beat around the bush at all, she said science does not have all the answers for it!
In a world where so many just go around the houses, to try and hide, it’s okay to say this..
It shows that her ego is not at the front and centre but the information is, as if she admits that science does not have all the answers, it somehow means that SHE does not and the whole of science is on her lool!
It’s silly, but many do this in other subjects & it’s just stupid pride, so I love her response.
A shrunken brain is a frightening image. How scared should we be?
The hippocampus is the one area of the brain that can grow and shrink. People with, for example, severe depressive illness on average have a smaller hippocampus.
But when they’re no longer depressed, their hippocampus grows again.
So the hippocampus is really important in mental health. We know that in animal studies, if they block the proteins that help to grow the hippocampus, then antidepressants don’t work.
And then, of course, the hippocampus is very important for various aspects of learning and memory.
It’s really important for kids at school, for example, while any of us who want to maintain our brains and not have cognitive decline as we get older, you want to do everything you can to keep your hippocampus nice and fat and healthy.
The microbes in mothers’ guts while the baby is growing not only influence immune development but also brain development.
I hope you are all taking notes, lol, nailed it again!
So why are ultra-processed foods impairing our brains?
We’ve just run a very interesting study where we tested the ultra-processed food vs the wholefood version of a low-calorie diet, and looked at the impact on the gut microbiome.
What we think is that with ultra-processed foods, even when the packet says it’s got this vitamin, or it’s got added minerals, or it’s got enough protein, your brain or your gut microbes don’t process it as food in the same way [as wholefoods].
We just need more science to show this conclusively.
Again, she could of just gone of how she felt, but rightly said we just need more science to show this conclusively, it could well be wrong, but we are still working to prove it, rather than her desire for it to be true and pushing it, with no facts.
Food manufacturers often claim ultra-processed foods can be healthy for their fibre and vitamins.
Is that wishful thinking? I think the big picture is really critical here.
The industrialised food system is the leading cause of illness and early death around the world. And it is the leading cause of biodiversity loss. The UN food report of 2021 worked out that our global industrialised food system costs the globe roughly $20tn a year.
About $11tn of that is in the impact to human health, like heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. And about $7tn is the impact to the environment.
When you look how much money is being burnt on this rubbish, and the effects of them pushing out trash that is making us sicker, it really opens your eyes to the sick game they are playing on you daily, which most fall for & just never leave!
We are talking Trillions, and this does not fix the system that is already broken, and was dammed to fail from the start, if you believe that they ever had your health in mind in the first place.
Therefore, we should reduce consumption of ultra-processed foods where we can? The real issue is that many people don’t necessarily have the option because it’s very often the case that ultra-processed foods are the cheapest.
This is a failure of government policy, nothing short of that. In the UK, as it is in Australia, when you go to fill up your car with petrol, you see row after row of ultra-processed foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, and every sort of chip and lolly and soft drink you could possibly imagine.
Given that those foods interact really strongly with the reward systems of the brain, if you’re getting those in your face every day when you’re on the high street, at the supermarket, filling up your car with petrol, it is very difficult for individuals to make healthy choices.
I’m always going to disagree with this, yes prices are going up on food. Yes, the price of healthy food is more than trash.
However, the real issue is that if the prices were the exact same, the masses would still choose the trash!
You don’t see in there numbers, marches to put down prices on fruit and veg do you ?
As a whole it’s not liked, just like more of the human race don’t like reading (Which is sad on both).
So we need to the CAP on that, the real issue is that they have been brainwashed and trapped in some matrix type simulator (LOL)
Were they are told this is what we eat, what is good is bad, most just copy what the other does, and even if they think, I should not will follow suit like sheep, like there are many in their droves crying that they cannot get fruit and veg, IF ONLY!
You’ve also explored a connection between ultra-processed foods and neurodevelopmental disorders. What have you found?
In 2021, we looked directly at diet quality in mothers and children, and ADHD symptoms and diagnosis. And particularly, the mothers’ intake of healthy and unhealthy foods were both independently linked to children’s ADHD diagnosis.
That’s not an experiment, it’s just an observation. But it’s very concordant with animal studies and the emerging understanding that the microbes that are in mothers’ guts while the baby is growing,
and the microbes that are in the guts of infants when they’re born, not only influence immune development but also brain development.
Because people’s diets are so very impaired in the west, we think that that, along with antibiotic exposure and the loss of biodiversity from the food we’re eating, limits the healthy microbiome in mothers and infants.
And that might be part of what’s leading to apparent increases in neurodevelopmental disorders as well as mental health problems.
Some researchers have criticised the term ultra-processed food as being ill-defined, overly broad and unfit for purpose. Should we reconsider the term?
Food must be the most complex exposure in the world. It comes in so many forms, has so many links to culture and emotional health, and it fulfils so many different roles.
LOL, Don’t I know it!
So it’s inevitable there’s going to be some fuzzy borders and some misclassifications.
But what I also know is what industry does, absolutely knowingly, is to jump in and make people confused.
With cigarettes, it has never been categorically shown through a randomised controlled trial that smoking causes lung cancer.
How could you randomly assign people to either smoke or not and follow them for 40 years? But we know from convergent evidence – from animal studies, from epidemiology – that if people stop smoking, their risk goes down.
What the tobacco industry had done for a long time was to confuse people by saying correlation doesn’t equal causation. Now, they do exactly the same thing with food.
True, you will be fine, don’t worry…
Then you end up ill, and those that think they they can get away with it, as they are older and lived, well are you really living or in and out of hospital ?
Cannot do basic things, because of the smoking ?
These are things that go over the heads of smokers, who are addicted, which is an illness no matter how you shake it, to a deadly product that is destroying your vessle to breath, you have to be really unwell to keep doing this, knowing that to be a fact.
Think of the billions of dollars that are generated in profits through the industrialised food system every year, and the power of those industries to get people, including scientists, to muddy the waters.
A lot, I think, of the conversation around the Nova classification [which groups food according to their level of processing] and if it’s fit for purpose is actually coming from industry.
Corruption everywhere in these industries, the ones running the show & the paying off scientists to lie to us, it’s disgusting but I’m not supprised at all.
She laied so many gems, and as a reaction this my fav person that I’ve heard from thus far!
She had only one thing I did not agree with, responded well & landed with that last question, so I’m happy that I reacted to this.
We Look Up 大