Review: BBC1 diet documentary What Are We Feeding Our Kids? was a scary hint of the future for our children

You are what you eat, they say, and judging by the contents of What Are We Feeding Our Kids? (BBC1, Thurs, 9pm) it seems our kids are one meal away from turning into a stuffed crust meat feast pizza.

By Phil Cunnington
Friday, 28th May 2021, 5:00 pm

Dr Chris van Tulleken revealed some frightening statistics in this documentary about the role ultra-processed food (UPF) is playing in a pandemic of childhood obesity, not just in this country, but worldwide.

Did you know, for example, that 21 per cent of children in this country are obese when they leave primary school? Or that 57 per cent of calories consumed across the population comes from UPF, and that rises to more than 60 per cent in children and adolescents?

Basically, it turns out that anything vaguely tasty that you buy ready-made is UPF – from oven chips to microwave lasagne to the cocoa crispy cereal you might pour into a bowl for little Tommy’s breakfast like a delicious chocolately waterfall.

Dr Chris van Tulleken’s BBC documentary asked What Are We Feeding Our Kids?

And to prove it, van Tulleken goes on a UPF binge himself, gaining 6.5kg in four weeks, sending his hormone levels all over the place and altering his brain chemistry to that of a drug addict, desperate for that next fix of sugary, salty deliciousness.

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The whole UPF diet thing has been seen before –notably in Supersize Me – but it glossed over the real problem – despite the industrial processes UPF goes through, it is still cheaper than raw ‘ingredients’. What we need to campaign for is an administration that understands pennies spent on children now – subsidised fruit and veg, more cooking classes in schools – results in pounds saved in adulthood.

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