Real Food vs Fake Food: How to Know the Difference
By Annie Flamsteed, Founder and CEO of iNSPIRE Sport Online
Hey guys, I’ve got a short blog for you today but one of my absolute favourite topics — real food vs fake food. The thing is, there is a place for treats in a healthy balanced diet. However, when we talk about general healthy eating, especially for athletes, we want to make sure that the majority of our diets are made up of REAL FOOD. When I say real food, I’m referring to food that provides nutritional support and essential nutrients for your body such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Now when I say fake food, I’m referring to factory-made food often filled with preservatives. It’s basically food that tastes good but has little nutritional value.
So today we’re going to compare some different foods & hopefully after this you’re able to make some healthier choices when it comes to your eating habits.
I love comparing different versions of certain foods when I do this because it really helps me when I am shopping for food and don’t know what to choose exactly. I want you to compare white bread to rye sourdough. Now like anything, there is a place in the world for fresh, crusty white bread with loads of butter as a treat! But, when it comes to maximising your nutrient intake from bread, I suggest you choose something like Rye Sourdough. The reason for this being the amount of processing involved. Rye bread has far less process and and as a result more fibre and less preservatives – if any! Choose rye, spelt or ideally whole grain sourdough, a favourite of mine is the dark rye from SOL breads. What I’m saying is that in this situation, white bread would be ‘fake food’ and rye bread would be ‘real food’.
So protein bars are great, some of them taste AMAZING and in terms of quick snack on the go, they’re not a terrible option. The problem is, the majority of these bad boys on the market are full of sugar, preservatives and other nasty things. You should see these as a treat, and instead reach for more ‘real’ protein options on the market. For recovery, protein is necessary so make sure you are prepared after training, you can boil two eggs, pack 30 grams of nuts, have a glass of milk. My favourite snack is a banana with peanut butter on it. Having something like this snack gives you protein from the peanut butter, natural sugars from the banana and of course the fibre and potassium that these yellow guys hold too.
To finish off, my number one rule for figuring out whether something is real or fake, is to ask yourself these three things:
- How many steps has this food gone through before it’s gotten to me? Has it been peeled, dried, mashed, or has there been things added to it?
- Could I eat this food in a more natural state? For example, is it dried fruit that I could have raw with the skin on? Could this milk be plain milk instead of a sugar filled milkshake?
- And lastly, how many ingredients are in this food? My general rule of thumb is to aim for foods with no more than 5 ingredients. Note: Meals with a long list of ingredients in a recipe doesn’t apply here.
I hope you enjoyed this quick blog today, show me your real food vs fake food choices and healthy swaps on instagram and stay tuned for our next blog!