Why Cut Processed Food

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  1. Processed foods are an illusion, often appearing to be healthy (with claims like low fat, low carb, vitamin fortified, no trans fat, contains omega-3s, etc.) when these foods are in fact the very thing making a lot of Americans unhealthy, sick, and fat.
  2. Coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer – four of the top ten chronic diseases that kill most of us – “can be traced directly to the industrialization of our food” according to Michael Pollan.
  3. Making smarter (and sometimes more expensive) food choices now may reduce your healthcare costs later in life.
  4. Why would one want to eat a processed food-like substance that is scientifically designed to never rot?
  5. The food industry has proven that it is not very good at seasoning our foods by adding way too much salt, sugar, and/or oil to almost everything.
  6. When you eat white bread and other foods made with white flour (which is a highly processed version of wheat) you are basically consuming empty calories with far less nutrition than the whole-wheat or whole grain alternatives.
  7. It is estimated that up to 90% of processed foods* in the supermarket contain either a corn or soy ingredient in the form of an additive under a variety of different names. Now how is that for eating variety?
  8. Cutting out processed foods could lead you to experience a variety of personal health benefits such as having more energy, losing weight, improving regularity, or just feeling healthier overall.
  9. Rather than counting calories, watching fat grams, or reducing carbs for “healthy eating,” simply eat whole foods that, as Michael Pollan puts it, are more the product of nature than “the product of industry.” It certainly is less complicated.
  10. It just makes plain old sense to fully understand what you are eating, be able to pronounce everything on the list of ingredients (if there is a list), and know exactly where that food comes from…don’t you think?

*Statistic courtesy of a food scientist interviewed on the documentary “Food, Inc”

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375 comments to Why Cut Processed Food

  • Stephanie

    Does Pollan have a citation for this claim? I’ve read many of his books, and usually the things he says are just assertions, and not backed by science.

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      What claim, in particular, are you speaking of?

      • Stephanie

        “Coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer” and directly related to the industrialization of our food. The hyperlink just leads me to Pollans book on amazon.

        • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

          Hi again, Stephanie. I have the book in front of me now and there are plenty of citations throughout which support Pollan’s philosophy. I don’t think he claims to be a scientist, rather a crusader against the ills of the industrialized food system and the negative effect that food is having on the health of a nation. ~Amy

  • Alicia

    I really like this article and agree with all your points. I only wish you had better sources. Links to specific stats and articles; harder facts would go along way in convincing my husband!

    • Sally

      Get your husband to watch the movies “Food Inc” or “Supersize Me.” The book “In Defense of Food” is full of research and “Food Rules” is basically a condensed version of those findings.

  • Isabel

    I recently found green bean chips at whole foods and my daughter loves them. At first I thought it was a good snack instead of just regular chips, but as I searched the web looking for a recipe to make them myself I read that bean chips are really just deep fried. Is that true even for the whole foods brand? I looked at the ingredients and all it says is the beans, salt, and dextrin. Which I also have a question about that. Is dextrin ok? is it natural? is it what it’s giving the beans that sweet taste?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Isabel. Sorry, but I am not at all familiar with the chips and I can’t find a good reference to point you toward. In general, however, we avoid processed snacks which are fried, as well as those with additives and preservatives. When looking at questionable ingredients such as dextrin, ask your self; “Is it something that would be in a whole foods pantry?” ~Amy

  • Rachel

    I just read your 109 days of real food on a budget posts and I loved it! But I have one question. Why don’t you bake your own bread to save money?

  • Don

    My family and I have been discussing doing something like this and I have just found your website today. We don’t participate in facebook but would like more information on the menus. We have just begun to look through your site. The biggest problem that I am having is on where to start our family at in order to make this change. We have 5 homeschooled children and know that this will be a great move for their education and overall lives, as well as ours.

    Any assistance is appreciated.


  • Linda Martin

    I have celiac disease, so cannot use wheat and certain other grains. Have you addressed this issue with other subscribers? I am eating healthier these days and am wanting to take the pledge, but feel a bit overwhelmed to deal with this issue and still comply with the rules.



  • Natasha

    Hi, I’m wondering if you consider pasteurized almond milk acceptable for the pledge? I would like to do this, but cannot eat cow’s milk.

    Thank you

  • Kim S

    Hi guys! I remember a few months back, Lisa had posted a query to see what types of medical issues etc. had been helped or turned around by people eating real food. Do you happen to know what I’m talking about? If so, could you please please please post the link? I think it would be helpful to a Mom group on Facebook that I belong to and would LOVE to share it!!!

  • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hello there. I think you are talking about this post: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/03/22/let-food-be-thy-medicine/. :) ~Amy

  • Can you tell me if Stevia is considered off limits if one is eating real food.
    And what should I drink at lunch to replace the caffeine boost I get from Diet Dr. Pepper (i have drunk one a day for lunch for years)

    What about Ezekiel bread? Is that ‘okay’

    Thanks! My daughter-in-law recommended your site.

    One other Q – can you direct me to any posts about adults and decreasing constipation problems after following this plan.

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Maria. Stevia is off limits for the pledge. Outside of the pledge, this post might help: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/04/25/stevia-food-babe-investigates/. Coffee or tea is my recommendation for an afternoon pick me up if you want to get that in the form of caffeine. :) Ezekial bread is a good choice among store bought breads, for sure. Regarding constipation, we do not have posts on that subject but I can recommend drinking plenty of water throughout the day as well as adding fiber rich fruits and veggies to your meals and snacks. It should take care of itself. ~Amy

  • Angel Beattie

    I have printed out the meal plans and I like what I see. However, until I begin working, (which is provng hard seeing how I’ve been a stay at home mom for 13+ years with no formal education) our grocery budget is $400 a month for a family of 5. (My husband is our sole provider)Food tax here in Oklahoma is 8.375%.
    My question is, where do I begin with eating whole foods without going over budget? We have been doing this as best we can for about 5 months but we end up running out of food about 2 days before its time for me to gocery shop again. No, I don’t starve my family. I end up running to the store and buying something thats easy and unheathly. We are planting our very frist garden this year–scary–so that will help. We LOVE frutis and veggies. My husband and kids love me. I on the otherhand can do without. Any advice?


  • Angel Beattie

    I meant to say my husband and kids love meat! lol

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    I have saved as a favorite foг lateг!

  • Tom Hepner

    Does a bag of Starbucks coffe beans have additives?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Tom. I can’t find anything definitive on this. I can say that to avoid additives, avoid flavored coffees in general. ~Amy

  • holly kapela

    Have you ever addressed allergy friendly foods. My one son has several food allergies as well as asthma. He is 7 yrs old. He is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, strawberries, coconut, eggs, wheat, gluten, and a tad to soy. When I read blogs like this and Food Babe and things about processed foods, which I already know are just so wrong, but with my sons limited diet and being picky, most of his commercial boxed products have a lot of ingredients. Xantham Gum is huge in his foods, even if baking from scratch. I was just curious if you have ever looked into foods say from Enjoy Life and other companies that specialize in foods that eliminate the top allergens. Thanks so much!

  • Everyone loves it when folks get together and share thoughts.
    Great blog, continue the good work!

  • Kelly

    Have you tired ‘Newman’s Own Spelt Pretzels’? Ingredients are: Organic spelt flour, Organic sunflower oil, salt, yeast, soda. I assume this makes the “real food” list but wanted to check here tko see if you agree.

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kelly. We have not tried them. The ingredient list is nice and short. I really like his brand and the good they do. Sunflower oil is a refined oil, however, so it does not “technically” fall within the rules. ~Amy

  • What do you recommend for individuals who are celiac and canNOT have anything with gluten in it…which means eliminating all wheat products and so much more. If we want pasta or a bread it is generally made from corn, rice, or soy. I’ve read a lot of bad things about soy and mix reviews of corn. SO what do we do?

  • I’ll right away grab your rss as I can not to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or
    e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me understand so that I could subscribe.


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