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In continuing with our series on defining health terms and other words one might find on food labels, let’s take a look at…,

Processed Foods!

Well, we all know this, right? Processed foods are junk foods that are not nutrient-dense, whole foods, (see what I did there- our new term!) right?

Well, not so fast. This is very interesting.

The following came from a Mayo Clinic post on the Internet:

According to the Department of Agriculture, processed food is any raw agricultural commodities that have been washed, cleaned, milled, cut, chopped, heated, pasteurized, blanched, cooked, canned, frozen, dried, dehydrated, mixed or packaged — anything is done to them that alters their natural state. This may include adding preservatives, flavors, nutrients, and other food additives, or substances approved for use in food products, such as salt, sugars, and fats.

Which foods are more processed?

Here’s how the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ranks processed foods from minimally to mostly processed:

  • Minimally processed foods, such as fresh blueberries, cut vegetables, and roasted nuts, are simply prepped for convenience.
  • Foods processed at their peak to lock in nutritional quality and freshness include canned tomatoes or tuna, and frozen fruit or vegetables.
  • Foods with ingredients added for flavor and texture, such as sweeteners, spices, oils, colors, and preservatives, include jarred pasta sauce, salad dressing, yogurt, and cake mixes.
  • Ready-to-eat foods, such as crackers, chips, and deli meat, are more heavily processed.
  • The most heavily processed foods often are frozen or premade meals, including frozen pizza and microwaveable dinners.

So, I guess unless you pick it from a tree or pull it from the ground and eat it dirt and all, it can be considered processed food.

So much for chocolate chip cookie seeds or Hot Dog trees!

The moment you rinse it in water, it is now a processed food, but look as one goes down the above list one begins to recognize processed and heavily processed foods.

Seriously, one has to know that a handful of frozen blueberries are not the same as a frozen microwave dinner, right?

Please tell me you see this, okay?

So, make sure you read those labels and understand the hierarchy of processed foods.

Here’s an example.

In my pantry is a box of 3 seed, kale crackers…, wow, KALE?!? That’s supposed to be good for you, right? Heck, it even says gluten-free- ahhhhhhh, AMBROSIA!!!! That means food of the GODS!!!

In fact, kale is a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli and is loaded with healthy sulforaphane. Also- it is non-GMO verified- bliss, the perfect snack, right?!?

Okay, before you hop in your car and run to the store, let’s take a look!

First of all, this is processed food. Go back up and find crackers as the fourth bullet on our Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics list. Also, there won’t be any sulforaphane available as it is not a nutrient-dense, whole food.

Strike one and Strike two!

Let’s look at the ingredients…,

White corn, sunflower or corn oil, flaxseed, black sesame seeds, chia seeds, kale, kale flakes, and sea salt.

These ingredients are Strike three, four, five, six, and seven…, you might as well skip your next two turns at bat!

The corn, sunflower, and corn oils are highly inflammatory, and pretty darn harmful to you as well.  We’ll talk about the oils later

Any redeeming benefits from flaxseed, black sesame, and chia seeds, along with the kale have been lost to processing and not being nutrient-dense, whole foods.

I am not the shopper in my family and it should be obvious that Dr. Diane no longer loves me, or has stopped loving herself and wants to take me with her into the next realm! Nahhh, she wouldn’t do that- she can hardly stand me in this realm! I guess she doesn’t love me! LOL!

So if you were shopping, would you buy this product, or rather I should ask, should you buy this product?


Alright, so let’s move on.

How about:

Trans-fats, what the heck are these?

Most are familiar with this term or at least have heard of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

To manufacture trans-fats, hydrogen is added to polyunsaturated fats like corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, canola oils, and other vegetable oils to make the oil more semi-solid.

Products such as Crisco or margarine are trans-fats.

Ironically, even though they are very bad for you, trans-fats don’t ever really go bad. I read once where a can of Crisco was opened and left exposed to the environment for 10 years. Apart from being under layers of dust and debris, the Crisco was as “good” as it was the day it was abandoned!

Remember, digestion is a process of putrefaction and decomposition.

How valuable and nutritious would be a food that your body could not digest?

A number of years ago, my brother, who is a builder, was re-doing an attic in someone’s home. Between the floor joists, he found a bag of French fries from a popular fast-food restaurant.

The homeowners said it had been over 10 years since any work was done to the attic, and yet the fries looked and smelled exactly as they did the day they were left in the rafters.

Some 20 years later I still have the fries, and while the “potato” part has long since decomposed, the remaining skin is still intact and golden brown!  That’s trans-fats for you.

In November of 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration determined that partially hydrogenated oils are no long GRAS- that is, Generally Recognized as Safe to be in human food, and yet…, it is still in human food!

So much for the FDA!

Eating trans-fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It is also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2- diabetes.

Trans-fats are found in many heavily processed foods such as fried foods, doughnuts, and baked goods including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits,  frozen pizza, cookies, crackers, sticks of margarine, and other spreads.

It’s best to simply read the label of the product you want to buy.


For some reason, if a product has less than 0.5 grams of trans-fats per serving, it can be considered as “0 grams of trans-fats”, and will proudly display on the packaging.

Sounds good? No, the manufacturers simply decreased the serving sizes.

Dirty dogs!

Read the label…, does it say hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil? If so, that is a trans-fat, regardless of what the pretty, colorful packaging says.

Okay, that’s probably enough for this blog, so…, until next time,

Take Care,

Dr. Dave

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