Too Many Processed Foods

Written By Acacia Leslie

You're Probably Eating More Processed Foods Than You Realize

We have learned from our several decades on Earth that a high consumption of processed foods and empty calories can increase our chances of having a ton of health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and stroke. This leads to an important question-- how much is too much? An article in Women’s Health Magazine tells us more. The link to the article is below.

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Article Summary

The article, “You're Probably Eating More Processed Foods Than You Realize” was written by Sarah Bruning for the Women’s Health Magazine, and it was published on March 14, 2016.

This article talks about a recent discovery about the American diet—it’s full of processed foods. study was published by a journal called the BMJ Open (the link to the study is below). The study asked over 9,000 individuals to tell them what they ate over a 24 hour period. The study suggests that more than half of what we eat could be considered as “ultra- processed.” The article in the Women’s Health Magazine goes on to explain why this is (it’s easy and quick) and how to minimize how many processed foods and extra added sugar we consume in our diet. It also explains that even foods considered “healthy” can be partially processed and contain added sugars as well. The article ends by recommending consumers read the food labels and paying close attention to the ingredient lists. They also suggest that when cooking at home to flavor foods with herbs and spices to boost flavor instead of high amounts of salt and to use honey instead of sugar for sweet recipes.

Article Critique

The writer of the article, Sarah Bruning, is currently senior editor at Women’s Health Magazine and earned her B.A. in communications from the University of Southern California. She has held a number of writing positions at a number of magazines and interest websites. She writes a majority of articles about food and health, bust she is in no way an expert on these topics. She uses the quotes from a number of dieticians and doctors to support her argument.

The article itself is well-written, short and to the point. It tells you the key points about the study and offers other insight and recommendations from a registered dietician, a reliable source when it comes to nutrition and information about the foods in a typical American diet. Mitzi Dulan, R.D., a registered dietitian in Kansas City, gives her input on the many processed foods we consume as well as the added sodium and sugar. Dulan also makes several recommendations to reduce the amount of sodium and added sugar while still preserving the good taste of the food.

The article also makes a good observation about the published study from BMJ—relying on the memory of its participants. The study asked 9,317 people to do a 24 hour dietary recall. This means that the study had to rely on the memory of their participants. It doesn’t take into account that the dietary recall they gave could be an atypical day for them. For example, a participant could have only eaten pizza and brought some from home because of the one-time pizza party from work, but is usually a pretty healthy eater for the rest of the days of the week.

In conclusion, I think the article is reliable. It is good at relaying information about a published study related to everyday Americans and providing sound advice (backed by a registered dietician) for those doing their best to live and eat healthier.

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