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phoenix marathonTake Out The Trash!

By Brooke Schohl, MS, RD

Food choices used to be much simpler. Food was obtained through local farms, dairies, and small markets. There were fewer options, but everything was fresh, with very little treatment or alteration to the original food source. Today we have a plethora of choices, but are they quality ones? Processed foods rein the marketplace – take a look at your regular grocery store. Aisle after aisle of packaged foods comprise the majority of the store. Truly unprocessed, whole food choices are limited to a few areas.

What makes these processed foods so attractive? They are fast, cheap, and easy. They are especially flavorful. This doesn’t sound so bad – what’s the big issue? Unnatural preservatives and binders, added sugar, sweeteners, and a host of other mystery ingredients, to name a few! As processed food selection grows leaps and bounds, so do our waistlines. Coincidental? I don’t think so.

Once you start flipping packages over and studying ingredients, it is amazing what garbage goes into these commonly consumed foods. Take Pop Tarts for example – how many ingredients would you guess that this popular kid’s food contains? 5? 10? 20? OVER 40! Some of the least appetizing include corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, soybean oil, palm oil, sugar, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and food coloring. Yes, you counted right – there are 4 different types of sugar in a Pop Tart. Is this high-quality, nutrient-dense sustenance for your children?

Another great example is Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts. The unsalted variety contains exactly one ingredient – peanuts. The salted version contains…12 ingredients. Should just be peanuts and salt, right? WRONG. I could go on and on with examples. These foods might taste good initially, but will they hold that same appeal once you are let in on their dirty little (ingredient) secret?

We need to get back to basics. Choose foods that are as close to natural as possible. Minimize treatment in the way of preservatives and processing. Minimize ingredients. Consume recognizable ingredients only. Less is ALWAYS better. Take pride in your body – fill it with quality foods that will benefit your performance as an athlete, and more importantly, boost your health and increase your longevity!

Interested in a FREE 30-minute nutrition consultation through Fuel to the Finish Endurance Nutrition Coaching? Contact Brooke at [email protected] to reserve your appointment today.