In response to the recent article regarding scientists defending the consumption of ultra-processed foods, one of the researchers named in the article, Prof Pete Wilde, from the Quadram Institute Bioscience, has shed light on the collaboration between scientists and food companies. Prof Wilde, with almost four decades of research experience, emphasizes the importance of engaging with industry to maximize the impact of publicly funded research.
The Quadram Institute Bioscience is a government-supported institute that aims to translate research findings into public benefits. By working with food companies, they are able to access advanced processing technologies and gain a better understanding of the role of processing in real-world scenarios. This collaboration allows scientists to improve the health impacts of food products by addressing specific issues related to food processing and functionality.
Prof Wilde brings attention to the fact that the definition of ultra-processed foods (UPFs) lacks scientific evidence and is too broad. This leads to the classification of foods that have been designed to have a positive impact on health, causing confusion and misinterpretation.
He argues that not all UPFs are unhealthy, just as not all unprocessed foods are inherently healthy. Instead, what is needed is an objective and science-based evaluation of the impact of different foods on health, regardless of their level of processing. This approach would enable a more accurate understanding of the relationship between processed foods and health outcomes.
In conclusion, collaboration between scientists and food companies can provide valuable insights into improving the health benefits of processed foods. Prof Wilde calls for a shift away from the blanket assumption that all processed foods are detrimental to health and towards a more nuanced understanding of the impact of different foods on our well-being.
Definition of Terms:
1. Quadram Institute Bioscience: A government-supported research institute that focuses on understanding food and health to develop solutions for society.
2. Ultra-processed foods (UPFs): A category of food products that undergo extensive processing, often involving the addition of additives and preservatives. These foods are commonly high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt.
– Prof Pete Wilde, Quadram Institute Bioscience