Walking into a supermarket nowadays is like being in a haunted house full of booby traps. Most people aren’t even aware of this because they are ignorant about nutrition. Don’t forget that the food industry doesn’t care about your health, the only thing they want is to make profit.
If you look around in any grocery, you see almost everything is packaged, mass produced and highly processed. If you read food labels, almost every product contains unrecognizable ingredients. 80% to 90% is highly processed foods that you’d better avoid.
I consider highly processed foods everything that has more than two ingredients, excluding E numbers. E numbers are codes for substances used as food additives for use within the European Union. They are added to improve the properties and shelf life of foods.
No one will ever be able to invent an obesity pill that's more powerful than just not eating ultra-processed foods.
But there's no money in not eating something.
— P. D. Mangan Coaching 🇺🇸 (@Mangan150) January 10, 2020
What to avoid
Processed crap generally contains three groups of ingredients that you should avoid at all cost:
- Vegetable oils like sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil and flaxseed oil. These are highly inflammatory and loaded with Omega 6 fatty acids, which disrupt the balance of Omega 3s to Omega 6s in the body. Vegetable oils become oxidized when heated and develop trans fats that destroy your arteries.
- Added sugars, also known as dextrose, fructose, galactose, glucose, lactose, maltose and sucrose. They not only rot your teeth, they also leech nutrients from your bones and tissues. Because it’s so poisonous, your body will do anything to get it out of circulation. They interfere with hormone signaling, increase insulin levels and triglyceride production in the liver and trigger fat cells to wake up and start making fat from sugar in the blood stream.
- Refined carbs like white bread, white pasta and white flour. These products are devoid of fiber, full of empty calories and make you blood sugar and insuline levels spike quickly.
These three groups provoke insulin resistance, the root cause of all modern lifestyle diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes type 2 and obesitas. So read labels and if these are in the ingredients list, don’t buy the product.
So finding high quality foods in supermarkets is a hassle. I read a funny Spanish book about it; El jamón de York no existe (York ham doesn’t exist).
Words like “home made”, “rustic”, “original recipe” and labels like “healthy”, “bio”, “vegan” or “light” are all marketing terms and make it even harder to find out what’s good and bad.
The food industry knows the legislation by heart and uses it to market products.
It takes a lot of time and resources to eat well. Unfortunately, most people prefer comfort over health. So I made it easy for you; I made a list of foods and what you should pay attention for. The book was my main source for it.
- Every egg has a red code printed on it (in Europe) that tells you where it’s from. Buy only codes that start with 0 or 1, these chickens have had more space to live and ate organic food.
- Don’t go by words and photos on the packaging, they are often misleading.
- The best milk has only one ingredient: milk.
- The best yoghurt has two ingredients: milk and lactic ferments.
- The best cheese has four ingredients: milk, rennet, lactic ferments and salt.
- Don’t buy skimmed products, always buy full fat. The fat is bad hype was made up by the industry. Furthermore, light products often have added sugars.
- Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk. Lactose free products don’t make sense if you’re not lactose intolerant or sensitive and often have added sugars.
- If you want your dairy to have a fruity taste, add the fruit yourself.
- All milk from plants, like almond milk, soja milk, oat milk and cocos milk, isn’t milk. It’s plant juice. In some countries they are not even allowed to call it milk.
- A bread’s main ingredient should be whole grain flour, so this should be the first ingredient in the ingredients list.
- Rye bread, spelt bread and other hipster options aren’t better nor more nutritious.
- Sourdough bread and Ezekiel bread are traditionally prepared breads made by fermenting the dough. These are healthier options because they are easier to digest, but more expensive because they take more time to prepare.
- Gluten are the proteins found in grains. Gluten free products don’t make sense if you’re not gluten intolerant or sensitive.
- Whatever the label says, healthy pastries, cakes or cookies don’t exist.
- Whole grain oatmeal are the most healthy cereals when they have only one ingredient: whole grain oats.
- Muesli and granola tend to have a lot of added sugars.
- The best pasta option is the one with only one ingredient: whole grain.
- The best rice option is the one with only one ingredient: whole grain.
- It’s okay to buy pre-cooked legumes like beans and chickpeas, but you don’t have to eat the broth.
- Quinoa is not a superfood, just as good as other legumes.
- Fruit is healthy only in moderation because it has loads of sugar.
- Juicing fruits extracts the fruit sugars without the fiber and is probably as unhealthy as a can of soda because it spikes your blood sugar levels quickly.
- Frozen vegetables don’t loose nutrients and are a way to save money.
- Deli meat like ham, roast beef and chicken breast are often highly processed and have added sugars (often called dextrose).
- Ground beef is made of the leftovers after taking all the meat cuts of the animal. Ground beef in supermarkets has a lot of water and crap added. Buy your ground beef at the butcher’s and let him mince it on the spot.
- Grass fed meat (organic) is better than grain fed because it has a better omega 3/omega 6 ratio. Normally you won’t find this in the supermarket and better buy your meat at the butcher’s, asking explicitly for grass fed beef.
- Grass fed is twice as expensive and the difference in fatty acid types is not that huge, though. Ditching chicken is a cheaper way to optimize you ratio because chicken mainly has omega 6 fatty acids.
- Organ meats are the most nutritious option and cheap because nobody buys them anymore.
- Wild caught fish is more nutritious but hard to find in a supermarket. Better go ask your local fish store.
- Canned tuna and other fishes in extra virgin olive oil are cheap and a good option. Those in sunflower oil aren’t.
- Frozen fish is cheaper and has the same nutritional values.
- Fish oil is the best supplement there is to improve your fatty acids ratio, which is very important.
- Extra virgin olive oil is the best oil available and you can eat it unlimited. It is highly anti-inflammatory and is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids.
- Only oils that are cold pressed and unprocessed are healthy; olive oil, avocado oil, palm oil, coconut oil.
- Butter, ghee and lard are healthy options to fry.
- Margarine is highly unhealthy.
- Avoid all the other oils at all costs; sunflower oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, flaxseed oil, grapeseed oil, cottonseed oil.
- Only sugars that are naturally present in products are healthy, like fructose in fruits and lactose in milk.
- Added sugars are never healthy and should be avoided.
- Honey is natural but very high in sugar.
- Dextrose, fructose, galactose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose, syrup and 59 other names are being used to hide sugars in labels.
- Artificial sweeteners aren’t toxic and could be used in moderation because they do influence your cravings for sweets.
- I think your health is the last thing to save money on so groceries are the last thing to save money on. Better cut on leisure, housing or transport if you have to save.
- A specialist like a butcher or bakery in general has higher quality foods than a supermarket.
- Always read labels and apply what you just have learned.
- Eat as less processed foods as possible (2+ ingredients). Buy whole foods.
- Eating out means processed foods by the way, so don’t make it a habit.
- Do your research if you’re interested in health like I just did for you.
Cheap shit is always the most expensive.
— Ed Latimore (@EdLatimore) November 5, 2019