Smart food swaps you can make this week
| PLUS: What Pringles are really made of; company swears under oath its chips are NOT made of “potatoes”
| HealthLine.com – When it comes to the grocery store, the aisle of processed foods is almost synonymous with “skip this area” or the “worst of the American diet.” And since we’ve heard about how bad they are for our bodies for many years, there’s no need for a refresher on why it’s recommended to stay away from them.
Lately, however, you may have seen a new term tossed around in nutrition news: “ultra-processed foods.”
This category of food is making headlines as recent research connects it with major health risks.
So, what’s the difference between ‘regular’ processed foods and ‘ultra’ processed foods? And what does that mean for your health?
By definition, a processed food is simply one that’s been altered from its original form. The International Food Information Council defines processing as “any deliberate change in a food that occurs before it is ready for us to eat.”
Heating, pasteurizing, canning, and drying are all considered forms of processing. Some definitions even include refrigeration in the mix.
So, unless we’re plucking apples directly off a tree or drinking milk straight from a cow, the vast majority of the foods we eat are technically processed.
But basic preparation and preservation techniques certainly don’t turn wholesome foods (like whole grains or frozen vegetables) into “junk.” Just because something has gone through a process doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy to eat.
Perhaps, then, it’s time to rethink our mentality about processed foods and direct more attention to so-called ultra-processed foods. After all, timely research reveals it’s specifically ultra-processed foods that can cause health problems, including increased risk of obesity and cancer. Read more.
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By Dr. Mercola – Forget the notion that Pringles come from actual potatoes in any recognizable way.
The Pringles Company (in an effort to avoid taxes levied against “luxury foods” like chips in the UK) once even argued that the potato content of their chips was so low that they are technically not even potato chips.
So if they’re not made of potatoes, what are they exactly?
The process begins with a slurry of rice, wheat, corn, and potato flakes that are pressed into shape.
This dough-like substance is then rolled out into an ultra-thin sheet cut into chip-cookies by a machine:
“The chips move forward on a conveyor belt until they’re pressed onto molds, which give them the curve that makes them fit into one another. Those molds move through boiling oil… Then they’re blown dry, sprayed with powdered flavors, and at last, flipped onto a slower-moving conveyor belt in a way that allows them to stack. From then on, it’s into the cans… and off towards the innocent mouths of the consumers.”
Potato chips are clearly one of the most toxic processed foods you can eat — whether they’re made from actual potato shavings or not.
One of the most hazardous ingredients in potato chips is not intentionally added, but rather is a byproduct of the processing.
Acrylamide, a cancer-causing and potentially neurotoxic chemical, is created when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, whether baked, fried, roasted, or toasted.
If you think you can avoid the health risks of potato chips by choosing baked varieties, which are typically advertised as being “healthier,” think again.
Remember that acrylamide is formed not only when foods are fried or broiled, but also when they are baked.
According to the FDA, baked chips may contain more than three times the level of acrylamide as regular chips! Read more.