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Healthy (junk) food quiz


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You only eat healthy, organic junk food, right? Good. Me too. But wait a minute. Is this healthy, organic junk food really better for us?

I mean, we know there are benefits to buying organic food from health oriented companies. For instance:

  • We reduce potentially harmful chemicals coming into our bodies and being absorbed into the soil
  • We support food companies that use sustainable energy and biodegradable packaging

So, buying healthy, organic junk foods is likely a better idea than buying the conventional equivalent… at least for the planet. And maybe for our health.

But really, despite the impact of environmental chemicals and conditions, right now heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are still our top killers. And these have a LOT to do with overall food intake patterns and body fat levels.

Junk food is junk food

When we are talking nutrition, body fat, and health – junk food is junk food. A treat is a treat. Does it really matter if it was made by Kashi or sweetened with organic cane juice?

Just because something is produced by a company that sounds healthy, distributes to Whole Foods, or is planted on an organic farm, doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t harm our health. The product might be loaded with sugar, refined flours and/or animal products (even too much of the natural sugars can wreak havoc in the body, see: All About Natural Sweeteners).

So, to get you thinking, I have a quiz. It’s time to compare food products.

I’m going to show you different food products and compare the ingredients. You can go through the categories and start thinking about which products are healthier for your body, and why.

Category: Cookies

Uncle Eddies Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies Nabisco Chips Ahoy
UncleEddiesCookies NabiscoChipsAhoy
Ingredients:

Unbleached flour, organic evaporated cane juice, chocolate chips (no dairy, no refined sugar), soy margarine, organic brown rice syrup, vanilla, lecithin, unsulfured molasses, baking soda, unsweetened cocoa & sea salt, walnuts.

Highlights:

  • 10 grams of sugar per cookie
  • 3 types of added sweeteners and white flour
Ingredients:

Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), semisweet chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, dextrose, soy lecithin), sugar, soybean oil, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, high fructose corn syrup, leavening (baking soda, ammonium phosphate), salt, whey (from milk), natural and artificial flavor, caramel color.

Highlights:

  • 9 grams of sugar per cookie
  • White flour, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors

Which is healthier? Why?

Category: Sandwich cookie

Late July Organic Dark Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Nabisco Oreo Cookies
LateJulyOrganicDarkChocolateSandwichCookie NabiscoOreoCookie
Ingredients:

Organic wheat flour, organic evaporated cane juice, organic palm oil, organic powdered evaporated cane juice with organic corn starch, organic whole wheat flour, organic cocoa, organic cocoa (processed with alkali), organic chocolate liquor, organic cocoa butter, organic brown rice syrup, organic evaporated cane juice syrup organic roasted barley, organic vanilla extract, sodium bicarbonate, soy lecithin, sea salt.

Highlights:

  • 9 grams of sugar per 3 cookies
  • Mainly white flour, various added sweeteners
Ingredients:

Sugar, enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), high oleic canola oil and/or palm oil and/or canola oil and/or soybean oil, cocoa (processed with alkali), high fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, leavening (baking soda and/or calcium phosphate), salt, soy lecithin, vanillin – an artificial flavor, chocolate.

Highlights:

  • 14 grams of sugar per 3 cookies
  • Mainly sugar and white flour

Which is healthier? Why?

Category: Plain crackers

Late July Organic Classic Rich Crackers Nabisco Ritz Crackers
LateJulyOrganicClassicRichCrackers NabiscoRitzCrackers
Ingredients:

Organic wheat flour, organic evaporated cane juice, organic oleic safflower oil and/or oleic sunflower oil, organic palm oil, sea salt, leavening (baking soda, cream of tartar), soy lecithin (an emulsifier).

Highlights:

  • 2 grams of sugar per 4 crackers
  • Wheat flour is white flour
Ingredients:

Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), soybean oil, sugar, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, salt, leavening (baking soda and/or calcium phosphate), high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin (emulsifier), natural flavor, cornstarch.

Highlights:

  • 1 gram of sugar per 4 crackers
  • This cracker is a dough ball of white flour, oil, and sugar.

Which is healthier? Why?

Category: Wheat crackers

Back to Nature Crispy Wheats Crackers Nabisco Wheat Thins
Backtonaturecrispywheatcrackers NabiscoWheatThins
Ingredients:

Unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), expeller-pressed oleic safflower oil, raw sugar (turbinado), defatted wheat germ, cornstarch, brown rice syrup, sea salt, malted barley extract, leavening (calcium phosphate, baking soda), natural turmeric flavor.

Highlights:

  • 4 grams of sugar per 8 crackers
  • No whole grain flours
Ingredients:

Whole grain wheat flour, unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), soybean oil, sugar, cornstarch, malt syrup (from barley and corn, salt, invert sugar, monoglycerides, leavening (calcium phosphate and/or baking soda), vegetable color (annatto extract, turmeric oleoresin), BHT.

Highlights:

  • 4 grams of sugar per 8 crackers
  • A whole grain flour is actually the first ingredient.

What’s your choice?

Category: Candy/nutrition Bars

Promax Nutrition Bar Snickers bar
Promaxbar Snickersbar
Ingredients:

Promax™ Protein Blend (Whey Protein Concentrate, Calcium Caseinate, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Concentrate, L-Glutamine, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Non GMO Soy Protein Isolate, Yogurt Coating [Sugar, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Nonfat Dry Milk, Yogurt Powder (Cultured Whey Protein Concentrate, Cultured Skim Milk, Yogurt Culture), Artificial Color, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Natural Flavor], Cookies (Enriched Wheat Flour, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean And/Or Cottonseed Oil, Cocoa, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dutch Processed Cocoa, Canola Oil, Peanut Butter, Guar Gum, Oat Fiber, Non GMO Soy Fiber, Beet Fiber., Vitamins & Minerals: Dicalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Acetate, Ferrous Fumarate, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Copper Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Cyanocobalamin

Highlights:

  • 28 grams of sugar per bar
  • Lots of ingredients I wouldn’t let my kids eat
Ingredients:

Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, lactose, skim milk, milk fat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, skim milk, butter, milk fat, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose, salt, egg whites, artificial flavor.

Highlights:

  • 30 grams of sugar per bar
  • Fewer ingredients than most nutrition bars, heavy on animal fats
Clif Builder’s Bar Organic Food Protein Bar
Clifbuildersbar Organicfoodproteinbar
Ingredients:

Soy Protein Isolate, Chicory Syrup, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Palm Kernel Oil, Dry Roasted Peanuts, Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Soy Protein Concentrate, Cocoa, Vegetable Glycerin, Natural Flavors, Peanut Flour, Rice Starch, Inulin (Chicory Extract), Cocoa Butter, Salt, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Fiber, Soy Lecithin, Organic Sunflower Oil, Vitamins & Minerals: Dicalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit. E), Ferric Orthophosphate (Iron), Beta Carotene (Vit. A), Zinc Citrate, Phytonadione (Vit. K1), Biotin, Niacinamide (Vit. B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vit. B5), Potassium Iodide, Manganese Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamin (Vit. B1), Chromium Chloride, Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12), Sodium Molybdate, Folic Acid (Vit. B9), Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6)

Highlights:

  • 20 grams of sugar per bar
  • Basically this bar is processed soy, sugar and oil….with a dusting of synthetic vitamins and minerals.
Ingredients:

Organic Almond Butter, Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Dates, Organic Agave Nectar, Organic Bio Sprouts™ – Flax, Organic Biodynamic™ (Demeter) Raisins, Organic Sesame Seeds and lots of love!

Highlights:

  • 22 grams of sugar per bar
  • Simple ingredients, no refined sweetener until ingredient #4, “love” is one of the ingredients.

What is your choice here?

Category: Cereal – granola

Bear Naked Fruit and Nut Granola Kellogg’s Low Fat Granola with Raisins
Bearnakedfruitandnutgranola Kelloggslowfatgranolawithraisins
Ingredients:

Whole grain oats, honey, canola oil, almonds, raisins (raisins, glycerin, sunflower oil), coconut, sweetened dried cranberries (cranberries, sugar, glycerin, sunflower oil), pecans, walnuts, maple syrup, oat bran, ground flax seeds, toasted sesame seeds.

Highlights:

  • 12 grams of sugar per ½ cup
  • If you have trouble stopping at ½ cup, it’s probably because sugar and fat are the 2nd and 3rd ingredients.
Ingredients:

Whole oats, whole grain wheat, sugar, corn syrup, raisins, rice, glycerin, palm oil, molasses, modified corn starch, almonds, salt, cinnamon, nonfat dry milk, high fructose corn syrup, polyglycerol esters of mono- and diglycerides, malt flavoring, niacinamide, zinc oxide, alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin e), ascorbic acid (vitamin c), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), reduced iron, guar gum, BHT (preservative), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin A palmitate, folic acid, thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin B1), vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Highlights:

  • 17 grams of sugar per ½ cup
  • First 2 ingredients are whole grains, next 2 ingredients are sugar

Which one is healthier, why?

Category: Cereal – “for kids”

Envirokidz Organic Gorilla Munch Cereal Quaker Cap’n Crunch Cereal
Envirokidzorganicgorillamunchcereal QuakerCaptainCrunchCereal
Ingredients:

Organic corn meal, organic evaporated cane juice, sea salt.

Highlights:

  • 8 grams of sugar per ¾ cup
  • Simple ingredient list, the bummer is that 2/3 of the list is sugar and salt.
Ingredients:

Corn flour, sugar, oat flour, brown sugar, coconut oil, salt, niacinamide, yellow 5, reduced iron, zinc oxide, yellow 6, thiamine mononitrate, BHT, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid.

Highlights:

  • 12 grams of sugar per ¾ cup
  • Oats? Coconut oil? This stuff is like a total health food.
  • Some strange colors, though.

Which is healthier?

Category: Cereal – “for adults”

Nature’s Path Organic Optimum Strawberry and Yogurt Cereal Kellogg’s Special K Fruit and Yogurt Cereal
Naturespathorganicoptimumstrawberryyogurtcereal SpecialKfruitandyogurtcereal
Ingredients:

Organic wheat bran, organic wheat meal, organic evaporated cane juice, organic puffed Kamut® Khorasan wheat, organic yogurt coated rice crisps (organic evaporated cane juice, organic palm kernel oil, organic non fat yogurt, organic brown rice flour, organic coconut oil, organic cultured non fat dried milk (organic skim milk, culture), organic soy lecithin, lactic acid, organic vanilla flavor, organic molasses, sea salt), organic oat fiber, organic psyllium seed husk, organic flax meal, organic oat bran, organic barley malt extract, organic freeze dried strawberries, organic whole oat flour, natural strawberry flavor, sea salt, tocopherols (natural vitamin E).

Highlights:

  • 13 grams of sugar per 1 cup
  • A few grains and grain components provide some nutrition here, only 3 types of added sugar – not too bad compared to 16
Ingredients:

Rice, whole grain wheat, sugar, berry flavored oat cluster (toasted oats [rolled oats, sugar, soybean oil, honey, molasses], sugar, rolled oats, strawberry flavored apples [dried apples, artificial flavor, citric acid, red #40, sodium sulfite], corn syrup, brown sugar, natural and artificial flavor, BHT), vanilla flavored crunch (sugar, toasted oats [rolled oats, sugar, canola oil (with TBHQ and citric acid to preserve freshness), molasses, honey, BHT, soy lecithin], rolled wheat, crisp rice [rice, sugar, barley malt, salt], corn syrup, polydextrose, honey, cinnamon, BHT, vanillin), high fructose corn syrup, fractioned palm kernel oil, salt, malt flavoring, nonfat dry milk, nonfat yogurt powder (cultured nonfat milk, yogurt is heat treated after culturing), whey, ascorbic acid, confectioner’s glaze, lactic acid powder, corn syrup, natural and artificial flavors, tapioca dextrin, distilled monoglycerides, soy lecithin, reduced iron, nacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin hydrochloride, vitamin A palmitate, BHT, folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin B12.

Highlights:

  • 16 varieties of added sugar! Call Guinness. That has to be a record.
  • 14 grams of sugar per 1 cup
  • If adults think they are improving their health by eating this cereal, they are greatly mistaken

What’s your pick here?

Category: Ice cream

Luna & Larry Coconut Bliss Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Haagen-Dazs Five Ice Cream – Chocolate
LunaLarryCoconutMilkIceCream Haagendazsfiveicecream
Ingredients:

Organic coconut milk (organic coconut, water, guar gum), organic agave syrup, organic Fair Trade cocoa, organic Fair Trade vanilla extract

Highlights:

  • 15 grams of sugar per ½ cup
  • Simple ingredients
Ingredients:

Skim milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, cocoa processed with alkali.

Highlights:

  • 20 grams of sugar per ½ cup
  • A bit heavy on animal fats

What do you think?

Category: Brownies

No Pudge Fudge Brownie Mix Original Dr. Oetker Organic Brownie Mix Chocolate
NoPudgeFudgeBrownieMix Droetkerorganicchocolatebrowniemix
Ingredients:

Pure sugar cane, unbleached wheat flour, dutch cocoa, egg whites, cornstarch, wheat gluten, salt, baking soda.

Highlights:

  • Basically it’s a wad of sugar and flour.
  • This product is marketing genius. What’s “no pudge” about a ball of sugar and flour?
Ingredients:

Organic cane sugar, organic enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), organic cocoa, salt, baking soda.

Highlights:

  • Basically it’s a wad of sugar and flour.
  • Why aren’t these called “no pudge?”

Which is healthier?

Category: Soda

Organic Blue Sky New Century Cola Coca-Cola
OrganicBlueSkyCola Cocacola
Ingredients:

Filtered carbonated water, organic cane juice, natural cola nut flavor, caramel color, tartaric acid

Highlights:

  • 40 grams of sugar per can
Ingredients:

Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine

Highlights:

  • 39 grams of sugar per can

Bottom line

I know you are cursing me right about now. Why? Because it will be much harder to rationalize any healthy, organic junk food consumption.

But trust me; it’s for your own good. You’ll thank me later.

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