Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Processed food, you never know where it will turn up

They distract you with this prominent "Naturally Produced" while they add all sorts of things that don't "naturally" occur in cottage cheese
Went shopping for cottage cheese for this week's Meatless Monday recipe. I am a bit OCD about reading labels because sometimes you are surprised. Like the organic yogurt that is thickened with cornstarch and two other gums. What? Yogurt thickens on its own from the cultures but thickeners are used to keep it from separating. Also, this organic yogurt didn't say anything about live cultures, so there probably aren't any. The live cultures are the little beasties that are good for your digestion (you have probably seen the ads for a certain brand of yogurt and their "special" cultures which they claim are better for you). In this case, is organic better? I have my doubts.

Is all this stuff really necessary?
In the case of the cottage cheese, nearly all the low fat cottage cheese at my supermarket had a long list of ingredients such as:
  • Malodextrin or food starch, 
  • corn syrup or dextrose (sugar is just in everything), 
  • titanium dioxide (a whitener),
  • artificial flavors,
  • extra salt (about 25% more),
  • a host of gums and thickeners, and 
  • preservatives. 

Here's what I bought. Pretty darn simple, isn't it?
The cost on the various brands was the same to within a dime of each other, which works out to a maximum difference of 2.5¢ per serving. For most folks, this is insignificant.

Read the labels. Seek out the brands that contain the least number of ingredients and contain things that you recognize as food. Avoid those that add a bunch of extra stuff. Be a savvy shopper.

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