The best of the worst—sounds like an oxymoron. Some of the foods sold in North America aren’t really food. They are imitations, imposters.
Here are the top ten worst fake foods to strictly avoid.
1. Cheez Whiz dip
“Processed cheese”, this spreadable gook contains a third of your daily fat and sodium all in two little tablespoons. Heart disease in a jar.
2. Easy Cheese spray
Speaking of “cheese”, there ARE cheese cultures in that can but the other stuff—of which there is a bunch—didn’t come out of any cow. How did they get her to lactate into that little metal can?
3. Crab sticks
They actually look like the real thing without having to use a nutcracker. You know it’s not real crab by the price—there is real fish smashed together in there but it’s flavored with stuff like monosodium glutamate (MSG), salt, preservatives, and other additives. Not the healthiest source of omega-3s. Or anything, for that matter.
4. Tang fruit drink
Good enough for the astronauts but unless you’re taking a trip to the moon any time soon, opt for organic, real unsweetened fruit juice instead. There’s plenty of sugar along with the less than 2 percent orange juice solids but the artificial flavor makes it taste even orangier.
5. Peanut butter and jelly “Uncrustables”
Junk in a pouch. It takes a lot less time to make a sandwich from jars of real peanut butter and jelly than it does to thaw one of these things. If you would ordinarily sprinkle artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and azodicarbonamide on your lunch, then there might be a time savings there. Maybe they should be called “inscrutables” instead.
6. Tofurky Italian vegan sausage
Like the idea, not the execution. In an effort to cut down/out meat intake, we look for meat substitutes. When is meat not meat? When a whole list of other stuff is mashed together to simulate meat. Organic tofu alone is okay but with all the additional stuff just to make it seem like something else, it’s a stretch and may very well overwhelm any nutritional value with the added fat, salt, and sugar to get the right texture and taste. You’re better off eating some organic, free-range turkey—or something else that’s a lot less processed.
7. White bread
To make it white, all the nutrients are removed, the flour is bleached, then synthetic vitamins are added back in (that’s the “fortified” part). Whole grains have fiber and complex carbohydrates that your body needs. With the wheat germ and bran taken out, the grain becomes a simple carbohydrate: sugar.
8. Fruit Gushers fruit snack
An excerpt from the ingredients list for “Mood Morphers Fruit Punch” flavor: sugar (the second ingredient), dried corn syrup [sugar], corn syrup (yes, it’s there twice), fructose [sugar], maltodextrin [sugar]. Oh yeah, there are pears from concentrate and grape juice from concentrate, too. No wonder it’s a mood morpher—it’s almost all sugar! Zippa-dee-doo-da!
9. Chicken nuggets
The white meat of the chicken is the most expensive so many manufacturers of this frozen delicacy have opted for a mixture of chicken parts (notice the term “parts”) packed together into clumps, then battered and fried. The fat and salt content are extremely high as is the sugar. Often the actual meat content is less than half the weight. The trade-off between convenience and nutrition isn’t warranted here.
10. Pancake syrup
There is no maple in this syrup—doesn’t even taste like it, no matter what the picture on the label. Composed instead of corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, water, and caramel coloring, there is no nutritional value—in contrast to real maple syrup, which is actually very good for you.
We all must be conscientious when it comes to what we eat. As for the items listed above, they’re a no-brainer—eat real food instead.