Beware of These 7 “Foods” That Aren’t Really Food

Written by on January 15, 2016 in Food, Drink & Nutrition, Health with 23 Comments


Caroline Praderio | Prevention

Grocery stores are teeming with real-food impostors: products so full of artificial flavorings, colors, and other additives that they start to look more like science projects than snacks. (And, yes, for record, we CAN believe it's not butter). Here are seven “foods” you should leave on the shelf.

Related Article: Frankenfoods: Good for Big Business, Bad for the Rest of Us

1. Cream that isn't cream
“Cream” that doesn't have to be refrigerated? Yeah right. The only thing even partially resembling dairy in most shelf-stable coffee creamers is something called sodium caseinate, a “milk derivative.” The rest of the ingredient list is usually comprised of a nutritionally empty blend of oil,sugar, and natural and artificial flavors—definitely not the best way to start your day.

Ingredients: Water, sugar, hydrogenated coconut oil, less than 2% of: sodium caseinate, dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglycerides, salt, natural and artificial flavor.

2. Potato chips that aren't potato chips
There's a reason those tubes of stackable, crispy ovals are labeled “potato crisps” instead of “potato chips:” Some contain as little as 40% potato content—and even that comes in the form of dried potato flakes. Instead, these crisps are cut with rice flour and other starches to make up the potato-y difference. Seems kind of backwards when plenty of other chip companies are making addictively crunchy snacks by—get this—actually slicing real potatoes.

Related Article: Is Tofu (Soy) Good or Bad for You? Here’s What Science Shows

Ingredients: Dried potatoes, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and/or sunflower oil), rice flour, wheat starch, maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, salt, dextrose.

3. Cheese that's not cheese

Pick up one of those flimsy individually wrapped slices, and you'll uncover the mystery that is a “processed cheese product.” True, “cheese” is usually listed as the first ingredient, but it's all the other stuff after it that gives us pause. Some brands have a total of 15 ingredients, including preservatives and emulsifiers to alter texture. Real cheese delivers the same melty deliciousness with only four.

Related Article: 5 Food Myths That Just Won’t Die

Ingredients: Cheddar cheese (milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), whey, milk, milk protein concentrate, milkfat, whey protein concentrate, sodium citrate, contains less than 2% calcium phosphate, salt, lactic acid, annatto and paprika extract (color), natamycin (a natural mold inhibitor), enzymes, cheese culture, vitamin D3.


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23 Reader Comments

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  1.' Matthew Flores says:

    Michelle Palush

  2.' Tracey Tolan says:

    Sofia Patriarca ewww

  3.' Angi Kempken says:

    Really wish this article would have given the healthy alternatives to look for.

    •' Kit Rautio says:

      They are called fruit and vegetables and Real cheese….you can slice them with your own knive 😉

    •' Angi Kempken says:

      Ya but its hard to find aspartame free gum but i managed to find some. Chewed like rubber with very little taste…oh well got the juices flowin ?

  4.' Pauline Duke says:


  5.' Sherryl Rawlings says:

    Read labels…

  6.' Bethany Moyes says:

    I always knew those cheese slices weren’t real cheese

  7.' Marshall King says:

    Margarine is another!

  8.' Nathan Dunning says:

    You can buy real Cheese sliced thats still convient. Coon Tasty is our fav

  9.' Suzanne Martin says:

    Real Wasabi is white and should be consumed within 15 min of harvesting so we’re stuck with the fake stuff.

  10.' Yousef Ashraf Louis says:

    Sahar Dahbar

  11.' Julie Anderson says:

    Linda Arnott Anderson

  12.' DieshanKarl Ayres says:

    Briana Kaplan

  13.' Darrell Warrington says:

    I try to buy real cheese and butter rather than margarine.

  14.' Chris Sharp says:


  15.' Teresa Farney says:

    Travis Farney Lexy Farney Anthony Southern

  16.' Amanda Sycamore says:

    Eric Hansen.. no more packet cheese.. ?

  17.' Eric Hansen says:

    You are what you eat . Amanda sycamore

  18.' Jamie Gragg says:

    Gross! Who’s still eating this crap anyways? Must be the diet soda drinkers

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