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The Dilemma With Processed Foods

Processed Foods

A Food Facts.Com investigation.

Doing some research about the most processed foods got us to thinking: are some food products really junk foods in disguise?

We all see the claims, all of the time. Many foods claim to be organic; low-carb; reduced sugar; preservative and chemical free; made from all natural ingredients; and now with special bacterial cultures designed to help you – well – you know what. The problem is that sometimes there is a fine line between health food and junk food.

In recent years, food manufacturers have become increasingly aware of the American public’s dietary concerns. In the early 90s, they fell over themselves to cut the fat, replaced sugar with sugar alcohols to keep up with the needs and demands of low-carb dieters and the latest trends and promises of “green” food.

The bottom line is that selling health is a huge trend, and manufacturers will do just about anything to make sure their products fit into our rapidly changing definition of what health food is, so consumers have to be very careful and learn to understand food labels. For instance, some labels just focus on the positives, such as “whole grains,” and bury the negatives, leaving you, the food consumer, with a product that is only nominally healthier than the original at best.

Also, be on the lookout for some food items that might be slightly healthier than their non-organic, fried-instead-of-baked, full-sugar vs. reduced-sugar peers, but still might be overly processed. Some examples are toaster pastries that claim to be healthy but are loaded with sugar; tortilla chips not made with “real” corn and 100 calorie packs that still have lots of sugar, though in lesser amounts.

Another item that may not be as healthy as it claims is the various replenishing drinks. If you read the label carefully, you will see they are mostly sugar and water, so you may want to stick with plain water.

Be an educated consumer, read the labels and don’t be fooled by marketing ploys. It’s your health.

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