Eating consciously with the 80/20 rule

Ultra-processed food is a health disaster, as demonstrated when English doctor Chris van Tulleken indulged in junk food for 30 days. The most alarming? According to him, our brains behave similarly to addiction with excessive consumption of ultra-processed food. In the Netherlands, its consumption is rising, partly because our brains unconsciously steer us in that direction. How can you prevent yourself from sliding unnoticed into an unhealthy lifestyle?

Dietitian Maartje Boot highlights the negative effect of ultra-processed food, often laden with additives to extend shelf life and enhance flavor. The combination of fat, sugar, and salt in these products creates an addictive mix that leads to excessive consumption and the intake of unhealthy substances. It becomes clear that consciously choosing food is crucial to avoid health risks.

A practical approach to detoxing from ultra-processed food comes from guest writer Maarten Verkoren. He challenges himself and his family to eat ultra-healthy for 30 days, with the goal of getting his children on board. It turns out that the argument of “healthy” is not always enough, so they focus on tasty and appealing recipes with pure ingredients. Verkoren employs the 80-20 rule: 80% of the diet consists of healthy choices, leaving room to occasionally enjoy less healthy options.

The experiment with healthy eating not only demonstrates that it’s possible to make more conscious food choices but also has a positive impact on overall food thinking. Even after the experiment, the family maintains healthier eating habits and scrutinizes processed products more critically. This approach not only paves the way to physical health but also fosters sustainable awareness around food, even in a busy family life.