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Ultra-processed foods and the corporate capture of nutrition--an essagy by Gyorgy Scrinis/BMJ
Examine food corporation's scientific strategy to frame the debate around ultra-processed products and suggests ways to reframe the debate.
The corporate capture of nutrition—while far from comprehensive or complete—is a result of the integration of various corporate scientific activities and nutritional strategies, supported and amplified by marketing and political activities. To counter this influence requires mitigating and undermining all these forms of corporate power. Current policies and regulations are still primarily focused on single and isolated nutrients or ingredients, and on individual products and practices of food corporations. But given that these corporations are the primary manufacturers of ultra-processed foods, we need to shift the regulatory focus to the entire ultra-processed food category, and to regulate the entire product portfolios of these corporations. It is also important to continue to develop less reductive and more integrated dietary frameworks to underpin the research into, and regulation of, ultra-processed foods and food corporations. The challenge is not only to understand the role of the various dietary dimensions that mediate health (ie, nutrients, foods, and dietary patterns) but also to account for the role of social, commercial, and ecological determinants of health. Such frameworks will contribute to the project of reimagining food systems that aim to provide nourishing, convenient, and minimally processed foods, and in which the harmful products and practices of ultra-processed corporations are no longer tolerated.