We all want to make good food choices and we look for the terms - “heart healthy”, “ high in fiber”, “natural”, “ organic”, “rich in omega-3” etc. In most cases the advertisements and labels are only a part of marketing strategy. A food may be high in fiber or omega-3 and and yet highly processed.
Here are 3 ways to identify processed foods with ease:
1) If there are multiple ingredients on a label most likely it is a highly processed food product.
2) If a product contains even a single ingredient that one normally does not use in the home cooking then it is a processed food. For example do we normally use EDTA in our cooking? It is a common ingredient in packaged food items but many of us may not have even heard of it.
3) If it is not possible to achieve the texture, appearance or flavor of a food product at home you are looking at a processed food item. For example, when you pick a box of corn flakes think about whether corn flakes are ever made in home kitchens today or if our grandparents prepared these in their kitchens. If the answer is no then you don’t even have to look at the ingredient label as there is a good chance it will meet the other two common characteristics of processed foods.
Here are some common examples of foods, we may not have realized, were so highly processed.
Some ideas for real food alternatives of these industrial foods are discussed at the bottom of the page.