You may have heard this before, but it deserves repeating: Many prepackaged and processed foods contain non-nutritious chemicals and food additives, including one or more of the following three ingredients: refined grains, trans fats and refined sugars. If we remove these three ingredients, we automatically remove many others simply by association.
Dangerous foods can be defined as nutritionally deficient, frequently consumed and advertised to have “health benefits.” The following foods have been chosen because in many cases, they contain refined grains, trans fats and/or refined sugars, and are consumed as daily “staples” by far too many people:
Breakfast Cereals: Most people start their day with some brand of cereal that may advertise numerous health benefits on the front of the box or package. When the list of ingredients is closely examined, you’ll find as many as 32 items.
Among these ingredients, usually in the first few listed, are the refined grains, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and refined sugars.
Margarine and Butter Substitutes: Margarine is partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. This trans fat was advertised heavily for several decades as a healthy alternative to butter. Most of today’s new butter replacements are not much better.
Breads, Bagels, Croissants: Most commercial breads are made with enriched wheat, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and refined sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrup. The lengthy list of ingredients includes the isolated synthetic ingredients also found in breakfast cereals.
Salad Dressings: A number of salad dressings contain high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. The low-fat dressings are often higher in refined sugar.
Pasta: Pasta comes in many shapes and sizes. It is most often made out of enriched wheat. The vegetable pastas are made out of durum semolina, which is not whole wheat.
What have we learned? All of these foods can contain superior nutrition if they include whole grains, healthy fats and non-refined sugars, but unfortunately, most don’t. Truly superior nutrition requires returning to a diet that excludes
prepackaged foods and convenience or fast foods. It requires taking the time to read through a list of ingredients to know what you are eating, and choosing whole foods. Talk to your doctor for more information.