7 Food Myths You Shouldn’t Fall For
If you want to avoid highly processed foods, don’t be fooled by these food myths.
1. A healthy diet means eating “low-fat” and “fat-free” food products. Wrong!
Most low-fat products have to be highly processed for the fat to be removed without negatively affecting the taste or texture.
2. Multigrain crackers are better than crackers made from white flour. Wrong (in most cases)!
“Multigrain” is a misleading buzzword because unless those grains are actually “whole grain,” the product is really no better than those made from refined grains (like white flour). It simply means the product contains more than one type of grain.
3. It’s “natural” so it must be a good choice. Wrong!
If a product is natural, it simply means it wasn’t made from any artificial ingredients, which is certainly desirable, but don’t forget that white flour, sugar, and even high-fructose corn syrup are all derived from “natural” ingredients and they are also all highly refined.
4. Organic packaged food is better than conventional. Okay, mostly true.
The problem is, though since the product is organic, people sometimes just assume it’s also good for you. But there’s an awful lot of what I call “organic junk food” out there that’s still highly processed (like organic cookies, organic ice cream sandwiches, and organic candy), so no matter what the package says you still have to read – and scrutinize – the ingredient label.
5. The bread that’s being made in the grocery store bakery is “fresh.” Wrong (in most cases)!
I certainly haven’t surveyed every single supermarket in America, but all the stores I’ve been to have a bustling bakery where workers appear to be pulling “fresh” baked bread out of their ovens. While it’s true they’re baking the bread right there in the store, often they didn’t make the dough themselves from scratch, which means it’s full of preservatives and other unnecessary additives like dough conditioners (just read the ingredients and you’ll see what I mean).
6. Margarine substitutes are better for my family than butter. Wrong!
As Michael Pollan says in his book “Food Rules,” “Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not” because it’s best to just stick with the “real” thing as opposed to an imitation. Need I say more?
7. Some people say, “Well, isn’t cheese a ‘processed’ food?” Right (sort of).
Our family avoids all highly processed food because even cooking is technically a form of “processing” or changing your food, and we definitely aren’t practicing a “raw food diet.” Mainly to draw the line somewhere we define highly processed food as products containing more than five refined ingredients.
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Article updated on: July 12th, 2012