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January 23, 2017

Processed Food—An Experiment That Failed

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco
JAMA Pediatr. Published online January 23, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.4136

Those of us who have participated in science know that 9 of every 10 experiments are failures. Now imagine that the last 50 years has been a grand clinical research experiment, with the American population as unwitting participants, conducted by 10 principal investigators—Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Kraft, Unilever, General Mills, Nestlé, Mars, Kellogg, Proctor & Gamble, and Johnson & Johnson. In 1965, these corporations posed the hypothesis that processed food is better than real food. To determine if the experiment was a success or a failure, we have to examine the outcome variables. In this case, there are 4: food consumption, health/disease, environment, and cash flow, divided into companies, consumers, and society.

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