I recently read the book Food Rules by Michael Pollan. If you’re not familiar with this book, I would add it to your “must-read” list. It’s a super-simple guide to eating well and provides multiple “ah-ha” moments. It got me thinking about the food choices many of us make and whether or not we really take the time to think about what we are consuming. Can you tell what common food products are from reading the ingredients?
So, I thought I would share a few of Pollan’s stand-out rules, as well as test your knowledge. I have listed the ingredients in a few common food products and want you to give it your best guess — see if you know what foods these are! Then, take a minute to ponder the following rules. Do the mystery foods below make or break the rules? And, the most important question: How well do you follow the rules?
The Common-Sense Food Rules:
• Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in their pantry
• Avoid foods that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients
• Avoid food products that contain more the five ingredients
• Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce
• Eat only foods that will eventually rot
• Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans
Product # 1
ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACINAMIDE, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), SUGAR, DEXTROSE, VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN, PALM, COTTONSEED AND/OR HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL† WITH TBHQ AND CITRIC ACID FOR FRESHNESS), CORN SYRUP, WHEY, CRACKER MEAL, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, COCOA, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF CORNSTARCH, COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, SALT, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA, SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), MODIFIED CORN STARCH, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, GELATIN, DRIED EGG WHITES, DATEM, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL†, MODIFIED WHEAT STARCH, XANTHAN GUM, NATURAL VANILLA FLAVOR, CARAMEL COLOR, SOY LECITHIN, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, COLOR ADDED, NIACINAMIDE, REDUCED IRON, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), FOLIC ACID.
Product # 2
TEXTURED VEGETABLE PROTEIN (WHEAT GLUTEN, SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, WATER FOR HYDRATION), EGG WHITES, CORN OIL, SODIUM CASEINATE, MODIFIED TAPIOCA STARCH, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF LACTOSE, SOYBEAN OIL, HYDROLYZED VEGETABLE PROTEIN (WHEAT GLUTEN, CORN GLUTEN, SOY PROTEIN), AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, SPICES, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, SODIUM PHOSPHATES (TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE, TETRAPYROPHOSPHATE, HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE, MONOPHOSPHATE), SALT, DISODIUM INOSINATE, CARAMEL COLOR, CELLULOSE GUM, WHEY POWDER, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, MALTODEXTRIN, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, DEXTROSE, ONION POWDER, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, VITAMINS AND MINERALS (NIACINAMIDE, IRON [FERROUS SULFATE], THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE [VITAMIN B6], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], VITAMIN B12), SUCCINIC ACID, ASCORBIC ACID, LACTIC ACID, BREWERS YEAST, TORULA YEAST, SOY LECITHIN.
Product # 3
BLANCHED PASTA (WATER, SEMOLINA, WHEAT GLUTEN), SEASONED COOKED BEEF PRODUCT (BEEF, WATER, DEXTROSE, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, SALT, POTASSIUM&SODIUM PHOSPHATES, NATURAL FLAVORS, CARAMEL COLOR), WATER, SNAP PEAS, RED PEPPERS, PINEAPPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE, BROWN SUGAR, WATER CHESTNUTS, SOY SAUCE (WATER, WHEAT, SOYBEANS, SALT), 2% OR LESS OF BROWN SUGAR SYRUP, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, GARLIC PUREE, GINGER PUREE (GINGER, WATER, CITRIC ACID), SESAME OIL, DEHYDRATED SOY SAUCE (SOYBEANS, SALT, WHEAT), FLAVOR (MALTODEXTRIN, SALT, YEAST EXTRACT, SOY SAUCE (SOYBEANS, WHEAT, SALT), CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% BEEF EXTRACT, BEEF FAT, FLAVOR, TAPIOCA DEXTRIN, THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE), CILANTRO, DEHYDRATED RED PEPPERS, SPICE.
Product # 4
ENRICHED MACARONI PRODUCT(WHEAT FLOUR, GLYCERYL, MONOSTEARATE, NIACIN, FERROUS SULFATE (IRON), THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), FOLIC ACID, CHEESE SAUCE MIX (WHEY, CORN SYRUP, SOLIDS, PALM OIL, MALTODEXTRIN, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, SALT, MILKFAT, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, CALCIUM CARBONATE, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF MEDIUM CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES, SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE, HIGH ACID WHEY, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, MILK, CITRIC ACID, GUAR GUM, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, LACTIC ACID, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, YELLOW 5 ENZYMES, YELLOW 56, CHEESE CULTURE, APOCAROTENAL (COLOR), DRIED ONIONS, NATURAL FLAVOR, CONTAINS WHEAT, MILK.
The moral of the story? Eat WHOLE FOODS! Check back next Sunday when we reveal the answers and give healthy substitutes for these 4 mystery foods.
TELL US: What’s your best guess on these mystery foods? What food rules do you follow?