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Irresistible: Why We Can’t Stop Eating (W/T) is a one-hour documentary for BBC Two and iPlayer which explores why ultra-processed foods are so irresistible and how they have come to dominate our food culture. It is authored by medical doctor and academic Dr Chris van Tulleken, who wrote the best-selling book Ultra-Processed People.

We now eat an extraordinary range of ultra-processed foods which are the product of brilliant advances in industrial chemistry and scientific research.

Created by ingenious scientists and sold to us by clever marketeers, there’s a lot to love about them: they’re hyper-delicious, super-convenient, have long shelf-lives and are extremely cheap. But a growing body of evidence is linking these industrially produced products to our declining health. 

The programme – a personal view on the subject by Dr Chris van Tulleken – features interviews with food industry insiders who talk openly about the way in which popular foods have been designed to be irresistible. Food companies can go to extraordinary lengths to ensure their products connect with consumers - from using brain scans to assess the deliciousness of ice cream to carefully engineering the sound of a crunch.

As our consumption of these foods have soared, producers’ profits have also sky-rocketed. This documentary also uncovers how a handful of corporations make the ultra-processed food we eat [2]. But there’s now a growing movement demanding change. Chris van Tulleken asks, can we change our food environment for the better and improve our health?

Dr Chris van Tulleken says: “Poor diet has overtaken tobacco as the leading cause of early death [3]. This documentary explains why and what to do about it with astounding insider interviews that expose the darker side of our food industry.”

Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual, says: “Our country’s food culture has changed profoundly in the last fifty years - and we’re only just beginning to realise the impact this may be having on our bodies and our brains. With access to voices from inside the food industry, this film tells the story of how and why the food we eat has changed so profoundly - and the affect these changes may be having on us.”

Irresistible: Why We Can’t Stop Eating (W/T) is a 1x60’ for BBC Two & iPlayer.


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