“It’s just potatoes!” is often what I hear from a lot of people when they are over-indulging in french fries. The sad part is…it’s not even CLOSE to JUST potatoes.
If they were JUST potatoes and hamburgers were JUST beef and cookies were JUST sugar, obesity probably wouldn’t be such an epidemic as it is today and most Americans wouldn’t be chronically ill.
Take the very famous McDonalds french fries. We have all had them, and they’re pretty delicious. But, do me a favor. Guess how many ingredients are in one french fry.
Did you guess?
17 Ingredients Found in McDonald’s French Fries
Ingredients: Potatoes (I’m actually relieved at this one), Canola oil, Hydrogentated soybean oil, Safflower Oil, Natural Flavor (Umm…which means what exactly? They don’t have to disclose this information to consumers), Dimethylpolysiloxane (Anti-foaming agent), Vegetable Oil (Including canola oil again, corn oil, soybean oil again, hydrogenated soybean oil with THBQ, citric acid and dimethylpolysiloxane), Salt (silicoaluminate, dextrose, potassium iodide). Full article here.
Unfortunately, these ingredients are not readily available in most fast food chains. Add this as another reason why you should avoid our local Mickey D’s and BK on your way home from work.
When you shop in your local grocery store, you have much more control. Here are a few ways to master your shopping trip and make sure you know exactly what you’re eating.
Common Processed Foods
Most foods we eat are processed in one way or another. Apples are cut from trees, ground beef has been ground in a machine and butter is cream that has been separated from the milk and churned. But there is a huge between mechanical processing and chemical processing.
Foods that have been chemically processed and from synthetic, refined ingredients and artificial substances, are what are generally known as “processed food.”
- Breakfast Cereals.
- Cheese (Usually Kraft or individually packaged sliced cheese)
- Chips, cookies, crackers.
- “Convenience foods” such as microwave meals or frozen dinners
- Soda, soft drinks.
How Processed Foods Harm Our Health
High Sugar Content
Processed foods are usually high in sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. These fillers are void of any nutrients and can have harmful effects on our metabolism, weight and mental state.
Preservatives & Fillers
Many processed products have very long shelf lives (too long) and this is done by adding a lot of artificial colorants, preservatives and other chemical concoctions.
Processed foods usually contain cheap fats, refined seed- and vegetable oils (like soybean oil) that are often hydrogenated and genetically modified.
How To Avoid Processed Foods
Shop The Outer Perimeter of The Store
If you haven’t noticed quite yet, all supermarkets are designed the same way. If you stay on the outer perimeter of the store, you will find all of the good-for-you things. Fresh produce, meat and seafood and the dairy section. When you begin to delve deeper into the aisles, you will find more and more processed, packaged items.
More about this logic can be found in my free e-book that you get when you subscribe to my blog!
Read The Ingredient List
If you can’t pronounce most of the ingredients, you probably shouldn’t be putting it into your body. (Not valid for every ingredient) Look at products with a short, simple list of whole food ingredients. i.e. tomatoes, onion, salt, garlic, lime juice.
Beware of Deceptive Labels
The labels might shout out one or two things that look appealing like, “A great source of vitamin D!” but they really should say, “It has vitamin D but you should see all that other garbage in here too!!”.
Be weary of design deception. Labels may appear clean and fresh by design, but marketing geniuses are just that…geniuses. They will put as much as they legally can on those labels to deceive you.
Look out with caution for words like “Naturally delicious” “Natural” “Wholesome”. These words are not strictly regulated and do not require any certain nutrition specifications.
“Naturally Nicole” checks out though, I promise you 😉
Get a Produce Guide
Which produce is heavily contaminated by pesticides? Which produce isn’t heavily covered in poison? These are important factors to consider if you cannot afford all organic options. This can all be found in a produce guide, which is in my free e-book on how to master your next healthy shopping trip
One of the best things you could do for the economy and your health is to shop local. Check out local farmer’s markets in your area or join a neighborhood co-op. Many of the crops you will find will be responsibly produced for small-scale consumption, instead of being mass produced for millions of people, which tends to compromise quality.
How do you make sure you’re only choosing the best products in at the grocery store? What do you look for?
Thank you for letting me into your world awhile,