If You Must Eat Processed Food, Consider These Guidelines

Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian and wellness manager for the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and Lifestyle 180 program, wrote an article for The Huffington Post today that provides good advice for eating. She says it’s not just about how many calories you eat but where those calories come from.

For example, did the produce or meat you ate last night come from a local farmer or from thousands of miles away? If the food was packaged, did you read the ingredients and understand each one? Kirkpatrick suggests asking yourself two questions when you sit down to a meal or snack:

1. Where did my food come from?
2. Is it a whole food or is it processed?

For starters, she says that foods such as produce that do not have a label are usually the healthiest. By contrast, the more ingredients a food has, the higher the chances that it has been processed.

In particular, consider avoiding foods that contain any of the following among the first five ingredients:

  • Saturated fats such as palm or cottonseed oils
  • Trans fat (anything containing partially hydrogenated oils)
  • Simple sugars and syrups such as high fructose corn syrup, cane juice, honey, etc.
  • Simple carbohydrates

Also, avoid sodium levels higher than 600 mg per serving, and if the label contains ingredients you can’t pronounce, it’s likely not good for you.

And I would add buy local and organic whenever possible.


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