Do you ever read the ingredient labels of foods in the grocery store or in your kitchen pantry? I’m not sure exactly when I started checking the labels on everything, but I do it and let me tell ya, it never ceases to amaze me just how prominent fake foods have become.
Here are 4 of the most common fake foods you should stop eating:
1. Cool Whip
Most people think of Cool Whip as whipped cream, right? Well it’s far from it. It’s imitation whipped cream, which means it’s a thing intended to simulate whipped cream. Here’s the Cool Whip ingredient list in order: water, hydrogenated vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, skimmed milk, light cream, and less than 2% sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60, sobitan monostearate and beta carotene (as coloring). Notice that cream is the 6th ingredient in the list, making this not a cream-based product at all, but an oil based product instead. That’s gross. Real whipped cream consists of simply cream, sugar and vanilla. It’s easy to make at home just by whipping up those three ingredients, but if you’re in a pinch for time, or on the go and need to just pick something up, opt for a can of Reddi Wip. Real dairy cream is the first ingredient in Reddi Wip, making it a true cream-based product.
2. Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer
If you add flavored coffee creamer or non-dairy creamer (aka coffee whiteners) to your morning cup-of-joe, you may want to reconsider. Most coffee creamers contain main ingredients such as hydrogenated vegetable oils and corn syrup solids – not how I want to start my day! There is good news though. If you love you’re coffee creamer and refuse to give it up, you have new options. More companies, including International Delight and Coffee Mate, are jumping on the “natural” bandwagon, offering creamers with names such as Simply Pure® and Natural Bliss®, containing real milk, cream, sugar, and natural flavor. Make sure you check the labels! And you can always opt for the good old fashioned cream and sugar.
3. Breakfast Syrup
Walk down the breakfast isle at the grocery store, and you’ll find syrup brands such as Aunt Jemima, Log Cabin, Hungry Jack, and Mrs. Butterworth’s. Ever notice how none of the labels include the word “maple?” That’s because they’re not maple syrup. They’re imitation maple syrups made of corn syrup, caramel color, and a whole list of artificial ingredients… nothing about what’s in the bottle comes from a maple tree. Do you’re body a favor and choose pure maple syrup… it is pricier, but definitely worth it!
4. Processed Cheese
Processed cheese comes in a variety of packages… you may find it in a can, a tube, or packaged in single slices wrapped in plastic (Kraft Singles). Pasteurized Process Cheese Food (PPCF) such as American singles, are only required to have 51% cheese, the rest…. artificial ingredients. When you shop for cheese in the grocery store, make sure to check the label, and avoid buying any brand with the word “processed.”
Without a doubt, your health is your most valuable asset. It’s important to watch what you put in your body, and provide it with real food to get the most nutritional value. Check the labels of the items you pick up at the store. Avoid purchasing overly-processed and artificial/fake foods. Not sure where to start? A good starting point is to scan through the first three ingredients listed, as these are the largest parts of what you’ll be eating. If the first three ingredients include hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, dextrose, or maltodextrin, it’s probably not a good choice. Also, keep in mind that foods with a shorter ingredient list are generally a healthier option – you don’t want to get into foods that have line after line after line of hard-to-pronounce ingredients.