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The conversation around ultra-processed food “kinda gets on my tits”, admits veteran nutritionist Mel Wakeman on the latest episode of new-ish podcast Oh For Food’s Sake (online now).

She’s been invited by hosts Amy Wilkinson and Lucy Wager to provide “a balanced view” of a “complicated” and “heated” topic.

Wager – who, like Wilkinson, works in the food industry – kicks off proceedings by criticising Chris van Tulleken’s bestselling book Ultra Processed People for lacking nuance.

Similarly, Wakeman, a specialist in eating distress and eating disorder recovery, slams the “oversimplified” narrative around UPF. She worries “clickbait headlines” will lead to people being fearful of and shamed by their diets. “There are real people’s lives at risk,” she warns.

And Wakeman’s no fan of “the privilege and ableism” that underlie the arguments of many high-profile industry commentators – some of whom she dares to call out by name.

Those prejudices even extend to medicine and academia. Some GPs “don’t get” neurodivergent people’s relationships with food, Wakeman adds, and researchers too often ignore “the lived experience” of individuals. That leads to “people fighting their bodies in order to confirm”.

Put simply, she does not hold back. Except when it comes to the matter of obesity – which she refers to as “the O word”.

It’s a jarring, and slightly off-putting, moment in what is otherwise a largely compelling 44 minutes.