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A Thorough Examination with Drs Chris and Xand

S1. Ep 5 - Building an ultra-processed mind

Chris and Xand are doctors, scientists and identical twins. Well, not quite identical. Xand is 20kg heavier, clinically obese, and has a Covid induced heart condition.

Chris believes that the reason Xand is overweight is the same reason that most of us in the UK are overweight - Ultra Processed Food or UPF. It’s the main thing that we now eat and feed to our children, but most of us have never heard of it. It’s addictive, highly profitable and the main cause of the global obesity pandemic. It’s destroying our bodies, our brains and the environment.

In this series, recorded during the first coronavirus lockdown of 2020, Chris wants to help his brother quit UPF and get his health back. So, he has a plan. In an attempt to turn Xand's life around, Chris persuades his brother to eat a diet comprising 80% Ultra-processed food while learning about every aspect of it. By doing this, Chris tests two theories - that Xand is addicted to UPF, and that eating more of the stuff while learning about it, will help him quit. Chris believes that the science shows UPF is addictive and harmful to the body, not least by driving excess consumption and weight gain. By speaking with the world’s leading experts on obesity and nutrition, Xand will learn what UPF is made of, how it’s produced, whether it’s addictive, what it does to the human brain and body and how it is the number one force driving global obesity.

In episode five - Building an ultra-processed mind - Xand continues the experiment eating 80% UPF, becoming more aware of what he is eating, and how it is effecting his mind and body. Xand also speaks to Dr Nicole Avena, a food addiction neurologist, about how our brains are affected by UPF in relation to other addictive behaviour. Both Chris and Xand go on to speak to sensory expert, Professor Barry Smith from the University of London, about how all of our senses are targeted by companies when we consume their UPF products.

Presented by Drs Chris and Xand Van Tulleken Produced by Hester Cant Executive Producers Philly Beaumont and Jo Rowntree A Loftus Media and van Tulleken Brothers Ltd production for BBC Radio 4

A Thorough Examination with Drs Chris and Xand
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