Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Ultraprocessed Food: Addictive, Toxic, and Ready for Regulation

Version 1 : Received: 27 September 2020 / Approved: 29 September 2020 / Online: 29 September 2020 (09:08:24 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Lustig, R.H. Ultraprocessed Food: Addictive, Toxic, and Ready for Regulation. Nutrients 2020, 12, 3401. Lustig, R.H. Ultraprocessed Food: Addictive, Toxic, and Ready for Regulation. Nutrients 2020, 12, 3401.


Past public health crises (e.g. tobacco, alcohol, opioids, cholera, HIV, lead, pollution, venereal disease, even COVID-19) have been met with interventions targeted both at the individual and all of society. While the healthcare community is very aware that the global pandemic of non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) has its origins in our Western ultraprocessed food diet, society has been slow to initiate any interventions other than public education, which has been ineffective, in part due to food industry interference. This article provides the rationale for such public health interventions, by compiling the evidence that added sugar, and by proxy the ultraprocessed food category, meets the four criteria set by the public health community as necessary and sufficient for regulation — addiction, toxicity, ubiquity, and externalities (how does your consumption affect me?). To its credit, some countries have recently heeded this science and have instituted sugar taxation policies to help ameliorate NCD’s within their borders. This article also supplies scientific counters to food industry talking points, in order to guide both scientists and policy makers in instituting further appropriate public health measures to quell this pandemic.


sugar; ultraprocessed food; addiction; toxicity; public health; non-communicable disease


Medicine and Pharmacology, Immunology and Allergy

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