WW2, the Standard American Diet, and the history of ultra-processed food

No single person can completely comprehend just how widespread the use of ultra-processed foods are in our daily diets. There is a bit of nutritional wisdom out there which says that all the healthy stuff is on the outskirts of the supermarket, and the further you go into the middle aisles the more prolific is the ultra-processed products. This is not true 100% all of the time. Not a lot is true 100% all of the time, but the biggest problem is that most people don’t in fact know that what they are eating from the middle aisles of their supermarkets is not food at all, but rather industrially produced edible substances. They came into being based on the idea that all calories are created equal, and that nutritional adequacy can be achieved by chemical means.

But this is far from the reality, as obesity and diseases such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and many other so-called lifestyle diseases will testify. In fact, even Alzheimer’s is now being referred to as type-3 diabetes, and seen as a direct consequence of an ultra-processed diet.

But this episode is not about how ultra-processed foods affect our bodies and minds. We’ll get to that in other episodes. Today, let’s take a trip back into history and see where ultra-processed foods come from. And this story is a uniquely American one, as the Standard American Diet has become – by and large – a world standard these days.

And the date I have in mind to start with is 14 December, 1941.

In this episode of The Guerrilla Health Show, we delve a little into the history of the food processing industry, and catch a glimpse behind the curtain.