Solving the processed food puzzle by cooking for yourself

Full Frame

Americans eat a lot of processed food: a whopping 70% of our diet comes from these chemical-laden, salty, sugary packaged products. While it’s convenient to reach for these ready-made meals, it’s not healthy – even when food labels claim it is.

Health consultant Beth Woodard advises sticking to the perimeter of the grocery store, stocking up on produce like greens and lean proteins and staying away from the center aisles full of processed foods.

Solving the processed food puzzle by cooking for yourself

Solving the processed food puzzle by cooking for yourself

Americans eat a lot of processed food: a whopping 70% of our diet comes from these chemical-laden, salty, sugary packaged products. While it’s convenient to reach for these ready-made meals, it’s not healthy – even when food labels claim it is.

“A general rule of thumb I stick to: If you can’t understand it, your body can’t understand it,” said Woodard.

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And the processed food problem isn’t confined to the United States. According to Michael Roberts, a professor at UCLA School of Law, the Western diet is being exported to other countries, where products like soda and chips are becoming increasingly significant parts of people’s diets.

One simple solution is to incorporate more home-cooked meals into our diets. That’s Niki Tehranchi’s philosophy, a chef and founder of EATZ in Los Angeles, where she teaches people how to cook fresh food and encourages them to use their newly acquired skills in the kitchen to steer clear of processed foods.

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“I think a processed food is a processed food is a processed food. At the end of the day, it’s still processed, which means it’s not as good for you as going and getting a real onion, a real tomato, and brown rice, and real chicken and cooking it yourself,” said Tehranchi.

In this week’s episode, Full Frame contributor Sandra Hughes investigates the misleading food labels and dazzling supermarket displays that leave many consumers confused and brings you expert advice on what you can do to avoid the pitfalls of processed foods.