Many Popular Breakfast Cereals – Do you want to know why so many breakfast cereals are “fortified” with vitamins and minerals? The reason is because otherwise they would be so devoid of nutrition, no one would want to buy them. Fortified means that the vitamins are artificially added during the processing of the food. It’s no better than taking a crunchy vitamin, and in fact, usually a low quality vitamin. For example, these fortified cereals often add a form of vitamin D that is not easily used by the human body.
Most breakfast cereals are also loaded with sugar, or worse, high fructose corn syrup. If they contain corn, as many do, then you can bet it it is genetically modified (GMO) corn because this type of corn is much cheaper and this increases their profit. GMO corn has been shown to cause tumors in rodents in a recent study conducted in Europe. Research studies have been limited in the United States and other countries because Monsanto and other biotech companies threaten scientists with lawsuits if they conduct research with their patented seed. However, there have been many anecdotal cases showing cattle and other farm animals getting sick and/or dying from eating GMO corn.
Granola Bars – While you may be surprised to see granola bars on a list of the 7 most unhealthy processed foods, this is actually one of the reasons they are listed here. The marketing of granola bars are exceptionally deceptive. They are usually marketed as an exceptionally healthy food when in fact they are just the opposite. This means people tend to eat more of them thinking they are actually eating a super convenient, tasty, healthy food when they really are not. Parents also tend to feel good about giving granola bars to their kids but they really aren’t any healthier than a candy bar.
Regardless of what you see on the front of the packaging or hear in the commercials, almost every brand of granola bar contains high fructose corn syrup. If you don’t believe this fact, try going into any supermarket and finding a box of granola bars that don’t contain this harmful ingredient. You’ll be hard pressed to find one! Even if they say they are made with honey or maple syrup, read the ingredient label. Some will put a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup for flavor but most of the sweetness is still derived from high fructose corn syrup. They are also sometimes loaded with fat, including trans fat, and lots of sodium too!
Pre-Made Condiments and Salad Dressings – Most condiments and salad dressings contain high fructose corn syrup as this is a really cheap way food manufacturers can add bulk to their product and improve the flavor with very little cost. Many also contain trans fats and food additives like MSG. Another factor that makes them so unhealthy is that we tend to not think about what’s in condiments when we apply them to our food. Even a healthy fresh vegetable salad can quickly become an unhealthy meal if an unhealthy dressing is added.
One way to eat healthier is simply to make your own condiments and salad dressiongs where you can control the ingredients. You can usually store salad dressings and homemade ketchup for at least a week in the refrigerator.
In conclusion, one of the healthiest steps you can take to improving your health is eliminating, or at least significantly reducing, the processed foods you eat. It is also important for you to carefully read the ingredient label when shopping and not just depend on what it says on the front of the package.