26 Best Prevention Foods

 

 
Given the often held belief that pre-packaged foods are nutritionally bad for us, (mostly due to the fact they are often on par, health-wise with lard sandwiches) the popular women’s magazine, Prevention, recently established a panel of experts to analyze over 500 of these processed products that bill themselves as healthy choices. 
The panel included a number of high profile nutritionists, such as author Cheryl Forberg. She was a consultant on the NBC program, “The Biggest Loser”; a reality show on weight loss.
To the magazine’s credit, the panel also included the “Moosewood Cookbook” author, Mollie Katzen, to ensure the food that the nutrition Nazis had selected, didn’t taste like cardboard, Styrofoam or gerbil pellets. Some might speculate, rather than a gourmet cook as a taste judge, they should have used a finicky five-year old. Still, it is positive that they included some allowance for taste.
The board also boasted Cornell University’s Director of Food and Brand Lab, Dr. Brian Wasnick (who, it was revealed, is a closet McDonald’s abuser), Dr. David L. Katz, a Yale University prevention research director; a co-creator the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System, and Eliza Zied who is with the American Dietetic Association. 
The criteria the august group used to winnow out the pretenders, consisted of just five areas of focus. The first was that the product could not contain more than 400 calories in a realistic serving. The use of the qualifier “realistic” was, ostensibly to combat food processors’ nutrition labels. For example, the Frito-Lay company suggests a reasonable serving of Doritos is 12 chips. Is it possible to just eat 12?
The second feature of a product’s inherent healthiness was the sodium content.  If a food contained more than 500 mg of salt, it was stricken from the list. Sugar was the third criterion examined in the selection process. The maximum allowable limit was 10 grams of the sweet stuff which would have included sucrose, fructose and all the other forms of sugary sweeteners food processing companies employ. Besides not containing too much “bad stuff”; fat, salt and sugar, the winning processed foods also had to contain lots of “good stuff”; essential vitamins, fiber and protein.  
The fifth criterion was a new one for the magazine.  They added genetically modified ingredients to their “naughty” list. The producers of “Prevention” have called genetically modified foods “The Biggest Food System Threat of 2012”.
The actual list of the 26 products that made the grade was of interest but the 474 foods that failed, and why, may have made for a more enlightening piece. Among the “winners” were a few surprises and some that were no surprise at all. In the latter group, for example, was good old Cream of Wheat Healthy Grain Instant Original. The only other cereal product listed was Country Choice Organic Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats. Other non-surprises were Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice and Dole Sliced Strawberries.
On the more eyebrow raising side of the list were two Haagen-Daz products; Five Lemon and Mango All Natural Sorbet Cups. A confection was also listed in the form of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Squares Dark Chocolate.
The balance of the list was a number of products that may or may not be available in your area. Organic products market saturation is a hit or miss proposition. Researching the products on-line was not always conclusive as to where these foods may be available, although a number were accessible through the Amazon website. On-line health food shopping… it must be the new millennium.
For a complete list of the top 26 processed products, go to http://www.prevention.com/pdf/BestFoodAwards_v1.pdf
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