Julio Basulto (nutritionist): “Children eat shit and it will cause them to live less than their parents”

The dietician-nutritionist Julio Basulto (Barcelona, ​​1971) “hallucinates” every day when encountering people who consider that “the consumption of products such as chocolate or wine or even honey, which is practically sugar, improve health”. Author of numerous informative works, just posted ‘Eat Shit’ (Vergara), a provocative (and highly documented) manual that aims not only to recommend that we eat healthier -and also-, but also to let’s reduce the amount of “harmful products” that we get every day between chest and back. A book about which Basulto ‘prophesies’ that “surely it will not be very funny to certain sectors of the food industry & rdquor ;.

Throughout its more than 300 pages, Basulto makes a merciless diagnosis of the current pattern of feeding in our society knocking down ideas firmly established in the collective imagination. We rescue some of the most forceful affirmations of a book that is willing to shake consciences -and change ways of eating-.

“Asking people to eat healthier does not work”

For years and years, the messages from the authorities have focused on recommending that we eat healthy foods, something that, in Basulto’s opinion, is ineffective. “This has brought with it small increases in the consumption of fruits and vegetables, but we have to go the other way: what you have to tell society is what products are unhealthy in order to reduce their consumption. To eat better, you have to be aware of which by-products are worse for your health. And those are the ultra-processed ones!

Basulto reflects in the book that more than a third of the calories that we Spaniards consume daily come from this type of by-product that resists a single definition: “There is one that comes quite close and says that an ultra-processed is everything in which it is difficult for us to say the ingredients that make it up& rdquor ;, he explains.

Not everything that gets rid of being ultra-processed is good for your health. “It is as if we say that when it snows it is cold and, based on that idea, we conclude that, if there is no snow, it is not cold either”, says Basulto, who uses numerous comparisons and explanatory metaphors throughout the book. “Iberian ham, for example, is processed and not ultra-processed, but that does not mean that it is healthy and that we can eat as much as we want”.

“That a food is safe for health does not mean that it is innocuous & rdquor;

Although it sounds like gibberish, this idea is clearly explained from the principle of food safety: “All the products we take comply with legislation and a series of standards that mean that we are not going to die from eating them directly. But beware, if they are unhealthy products, it is very possible that they will kill us in the long term& rdquor ;, sentence Basulto. A devastating fact: every year, 11 million people die in the world due to poor nutrition.

“Spain is a swamp of food & rdquor;

The cradle of the Mediterranean diet, the garden of Europe… Spain has always been considered one of the best eating countries in the world. However, Basulto highlights that it is “a quagmire of foodor a place where, while healthy food is reasonably priced and easily accessible, there is a monstrous flood of unhealthy products that makes it easier for us to end up buying one than an apple or a lettuce & rdquor ;.

Yes indeed, the situation is much worse in the so-called “food deserts & rdquor; of some areas of countries such as the United States, in which “real food, either conspicuous by its absence compared to ultra-processed food, or can be found but only at exorbitant prices & rdquor ;.

During his research to write ‘Come shit’, Basulto confirmed that the number of advertisements for unhealthy products in rich neighborhoods is much lower than in poor neighborhoods, subjected to “aggressive and predatory marketing messages that promote poor quality products with flashy and colorful packaging & rdquor ;. So, eating well is also a matter of social classlow incomes being much more exposed to ‘shit’ or “something poorly done or of poor quality, as defined by the RAE & rdquor ;, recalls Basulto.

“With iron-fortified cereals, biscuits with vitamins… we are letting ourselves be fooled by the halo effect & rdquor;

One of the most effective weapons of that predatory marketing that Basulto speaks of is the “halo effect & rdquor; which makes “if you see that some breakfast cereals or a piece of industrial pastry are enriched with iron, vitamins or fiber… you tend to think that product is healthy when it is not”. So to speak, that ‘halo’ ‘dazzles’ us by leading us to eat an ultra-processed food that, in reality, “is rich in salt, sugar and fat.”

Basulto raises the accusing finger here for the first time to explain that “the real culprits are the rulers who allow this & rdquor ;, remembering that it is not about making them feel guilty “they eat them badly but those who allow those people to eat badly & rdquor ;.

“Superfoods do not exist”

Goji berries, chia seeds, kombucha… every day a new product supposedly “miraculous & rdquor; appears on the scene to promise the gold and the Moor in exchange for their consumption. “It is useless to consume any of them if we continue to include unhealthy products in our diet.& rdquor ;, comments the nutritionist. In other words: “Is there a Superman? No. And superfoods? Well neither & rdquor ;.

And probiotics also take a few “slaps & rdquor; de Basulto, as he himself acknowledges: “Millions are dedicated to their promotion and to carrying out studies that have not ended up showing that they have benefits for the health of the population in general”.

“Wine and beer should have a label warning that consuming them increases the risk of cancer & rdquor;

In the book, Basulto gives some data that will overwhelm those who think that “nothing happens & rdquor; for having “a beer a day & rdquor ;. In 2020, 41,300 cancers were detected among those with light alcohol consumption and the number rises to 100,000 among those with moderate consumption. “All alcoholic beverages should carry a label warning of this. It is not about banning wine or beer, but about protecting the consumer’s right to be informed & rdquor ;.

“Eating everything is an excuse to continue eating badly”

One of the phrases that Basulto considers more ‘in-law’ is the one that establishes that “you have to eat everything & rdquor ;. The nutritionist denies it with overwhelming logic: “Go into any supermarket and try to follow this maxim: along with foods such as fruits and vegetables, you will find sugary products, alcoholic beverages, chocolate bars next to the payment boxes… There is no scientific evidence that eating everything is healthier. On the contrary, it is related to a higher rate of obesity”.

“We must prohibit celebrities from advertising unhealthy products & rdquor;

Basulto asks the authorities to “punch the table” by prohibiting familiar faces of all kinds from advertising unhealthy products. “Celebrities seriously harm health, because nutrition is a science, not something that everyone can freely talk about”.

Another truth sculpted in marble that needs to be turned around. “You know who cares to keep saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? To those who sell us ultra-processed foods for breakfast, from cereals to cookies & rdquor ;, says Basulto. What’s more, the author of ‘Come shit’ adds that “forcing someone to have breakfast who doesn’t have an appetite at that time can cause them to gain weight”. And no, not everyone wakes up ravenously hungry in the morning.

“Today’s children will live less than their parents & rdquor;

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One of the most dire consequences of the current food model is the evidence “by the WHO, but also by the European Commission, that the current generation of children will live less than their parents&rdquor ;, laments Basulto.

The nutritionist believes that a child with poor eating habits is more likely to become an adult consumer of ultra-processed foods. “The result will be an adult population with higher levels of obesity and associated pathologies that are detrimental to health&rdquor ;, summarizes Basulto. A weight problem, never better said.

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