While we're all for eating nutritious, whole foods whenever possible, we also know the reasons you reach for that frozen pizza or those pre-made veggie patties.
Cutting back on certain processed foods, like meats, which have been linked to an increased cancer risk, is certainly a smart move. But some convenience foods, like yogurt, frozen fruits and veggies, brown rice, canned beans and more can actually be good for you, even when they're processed and packaged, writes pediatrician, author and HuffPost blogger Joanna Dolgoff, M.D.
Still, it's easy to be fooled by labels and packaging making false health claims or hiding sneaky unhealthy ingredients. Luckily, there are some easy-to-follow rules of thumb for deciding if a packaged food is a smart choice.
To start, look for "foods with ingredients we know, recognize, can situate in some part of the plant or animal kingdom, and can pronounce," writes David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale Prevention Research Center and HuffPost blogger.
It's also a good idea to avoid foods with more than five ingredients; the additional 20 or so in the picks below are often preservatives, sugars and other additives, many of which we can't even digest properly.
Five ingredients might not sound like a lot, especially when we're used to paragraphs-long ingredients lists. But now that things like pink slime and the 26-ingredient school lunch burger have been brought into the limelight, shoppers seem to be getting savvy about what's really in their food.
While we by no means have exhausted the ingredients lists of all the products in the world, we did round up a few of the worst offenders. Click through the slideshow below of 12 foods with more than 25 ingredients. Then tell us in the comments what else we missed!
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