michael pollan

Michael Pollan's Least Favorite Foods

An expert outlines how to not be tricked at the supermarket.

By Leah Zerbe


Michael Pollan's Least Favorite Foods

Step number one for navigating the grocery-store minefield: Avoid anything processed.

Nowadays, even Sherlock Holmes would have trouble navigating the supermarket in search of truly healthy food. Marketing claims, labels, and ingredient lists are confusing—and that's just the point. Food corporations want to keep you baffled and tricked into thinking sugar-packed, salt-loaded, pesticide-tainted foods are good for you. But they're not! And for the past two decades, best-selling author Michael Pollan has been trying to help people make healthier food choices.

Pollan was a featured guest in the Philadelphia Speakers Series Monday night at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. He came onstage armed with two bags of groceries and explained why it's so hard to make sound decisions in the wilderness of food choice—the supermarket. "Even when you're trying to eat well, you'll find that there's one dilemma, one pitfall, after another," Pollan said, noting that supermarkets introduce about 40 new products a day. That's a whopping 14,000 new labels a year to scan! Most are convenience foods that aim to make our lives easier. The downside? Most are jammed with preservatives and other artificial ingredients that our bodies don't even know how to process.

#1: Lucky Charms
Pollan calls the cereal aisle perhaps the most treacherous part of a supermarket, and with good reason. Cereal labels are quick to market whole grain content, but less likely to highlight dangerously high levels of sugar or genetically engineered ingredients. Pollan pointed out that Lucky Charms lists whole grains as the top ingredient, but several different forms of sugar follow.
Pollan's Food Rule: Don't buy any cereal that makes your milk turn a different color.

Read More: An Exclusive Interview with Michael Pollan

#2: Special K Cereal Bars
Cereal bars are a form of brand extension for Special K. In essence, it's saying, "Forget the bowl, the milk, and sitting down," says Pollan, who notes that 20 percent of meals are rushed and eaten in the car.
Pollan's Food Rule: Try to eat at a table, not in a car, as often as possible. This helps you avoid overeating.

#3: Smucker's Uncrustables
Homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches used to be considered quick and easy lunchbox items, but Smucker's has managed to turn this old favorite into a packaged supermarket product. Uncrustables are premade PB&J sandwiches with the crusts already removed, and they're full of dangerous high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. They are devoid of healthy fiber, which makes you want to eat more in the long run.
Pollan's Food Rule: Avoid any product listing high-fructose corn syrup as an ingredient.

Published on: January 25, 2012
Updated on: January 30, 2012

More from our Authors

Learn how much happier and healthier you can be WITHOUT sugar ruining your life!

This subject has always been

This subject has always been one of my preferred topics to study about. I have discovered your publish to be very stirring and complete of reliable details. I will examine your other content soon. A Look at Protein Powder for Women Weight Loss

I knew many effective

I knew many effective information from this.After reading this article i knew that they are showing models to the company through items.It is pretty a good thing that they are doing. Contour ab belt discount

This web-page is excellent

This web-page is excellent and so is how the matter was expanded. I like some of the comments as well although I would prefer we all keep it on topic in order add value to the subject. ticket lawyer

There is currently quite a

There is currently quite a lot of information around this subject on the net and some are most definitely better than others. You have caught the detail here just right which makes for a refreshing change. maqui berry weight loss

I am currently looking into a

I am currently looking into a diet change and this post helped to see another aspect of my gaining health. I appreciate your info. Mittel gegen Mundgeruch

Processed food is disgusting,

Processed food is disgusting, really. It shouldn't even be considered food.

Consolidate Private Debt

Well i don't think so that

Well i don't think so that there are most of people who are currently blinded by these commercials. There should be some more sharing in this regard for facilitation of visitors. Keep placing more Craigslist search by state

Good points! Most of us are

Good points! Most of us are currently blinded by these commercials/advertisements shown in television pellet mill

Good points! Most of us are

Good points! Most of us are currently blinded by these commercials/advertisements shown in television, online, and others using the catchy stories and lines of the paid actress and actors. I admit that even me patronize such products it's because of laziness in preparing my own meals and sometimes cause of good advertisements. But the reality is that we all living in so unhealthy world on which most of the products we buy contains preservatives or sprayed with insecticides. So, do we have a choice? Guy Riordan


Download a FREE chapter from The Exercise Cure and learn how to get your daily dose of the world's most effective preventive medicine. Click here for your FREE copy!

Free Newsletter
Sign up for the FREE daily newsletter and get useful tips to keep yourself, your family, and the planet healthy and thriving.

  The Daily Fix
Authoritative reporting on the latest developments in health, food, and the environment

  Maria's Farm Country Kitchen Newsletter
Get cooking tips, learn about healthy living and even raising chickens—Maria does it all!

Your Privacy Policy