10 easy tips to recognise real food

Food with health claims and new diets sprouting everywhere, it’s no wonder we are puzzled about what food we should eat. In general, eat real food instead of processed food. But how can you differentiate between two of them? Here are some simple guidelines from Food Rules, a book by Michael Pollen.


1. Avoid foods that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients.

2. Don’t eat anything your great-grand mother wouldn’t recognise as food

3. It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language
e.g Big Mac and Pringles.


4. Avoid food that are pretending to be something they are not
e.g imitation butter aka margarine. To make something that contains something they do not have requires extreme degree of processing.

5. Avoid foods you see advertised on television.

6. Eat only foods that will eventually rot.
Processed food are made to have a long shelf life and it is typically less nutritious.

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7. If it came from a plant; eat it; if it was made in a plant (factory), don’t.

8. Avoid food that contains high-fructose corn syrup
It is a sign that food product has been highly processed

9. It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car

10. Avoid food products containing ingredient that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry
e.g Ammonium sulfate, Xanthan gum.

McDonald's strawberry sundae

We know it’s almost impossible to follow the above ‘rules’ all the time. See it as a guideline instead. Try to eat real food by packing food to the office (Join our Lunchbox Monday campaign!) or choose to make a simple meal from plant instead of ordering delivery. Then, you don’t have to worry if your colleague kindly hands you a snack contain ingredients only a chemist understand.

Eat well, but be flexible.

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