Eliminating Heavily Processed Foods from Your Diet


John Mackey, the CEO and founder of Whole Foods, has a new book out. In The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity, he shares how he gave up processed foods in the process of gaining a healthier lifestyle.

According to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, processed food falls on a spectrum from minimally to heavily processed. Some have benefits, like milk and juices fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

These tips from Eat Right, the Academy’s online resource, will help you know what to try and avoid:

“The term processed food includes any food that has been purposely changed in some way prior to consumption,” says Torey Armul, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Heavily processed foods can be recognized as food not in its original form, like potato chips and crackers, or food that is not naturally occurring, such as sodas, donuts, cookies and candy.”

Look for Hidden Sugar and Fat

“Eating processed food in moderation is fine, but consumers should be on the lookout for hidden sugar, sodium and fat.

“Added sugars aren’t just hidden in processed sweets. They’re added to bread to give it an appealing browned hue, and there often is a surprising amount added to jarred pasta sauces and cereal.

“The FDA has banned artificial  trans fats from the food supply, but companies have until 2018 to comply,” says Armul. “In the meantime, check both the Nutrition Facts Label and ingredient list for trans fats. Look for zero grams of trans fats on the label and no partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list. These oils contain trans fat, which does not have to be listed on the Nutrition Facts Label if it amounts to less than 0.5 grams per serving. However, even this amount is not safe to consume. If the food lists partially hydrogenated oil as an ingredient, put it back.”

Read the complete article: Processed Foods: What’s OK and What to Avoid