Millions of people swear every January they’re going to improve their health. I’ve assumed for years that achieving that goal requires paying careful attention to what we eat.

Apparently I was wrong about that. Turns out countless processed foods are actually good for you. I learned that glancing at a bunch of labels and packages recently in the cafeteria at the building where I work.

I usually bring lunch from home or skip eating lunch entirely, so it’s been years since I took a good look at what’s on the shelves.  Imagine my surprise when I saw healthy offerings like this:

Whodathunkit? Swiss Miss hot chocolate is actually good for you! After all, it provides as much calcium as an 8-ounce glass milk! And if we turn that package over …

… we see the calcium comes with sugar, corn syrup (in case the sugar isn’t sweet enough), and hydrogenated coconut oil. Small price to pay for the health benefits of all that calcium.

Moving along, I found chips that contain 30% Less Fat or even 65% Less Fat than the leading Potato Chips – and as we know, anything lower in fat will make you healthy.

Here are the healthy ingredients in those Oven-Baked Lays:

Awesome. Corn oil, corn starch, sugar and soybean oil. Good thing they contain 65% less fat than regular potato chips, or I’d almost wonder if they’re good for us after all.

Of course, as the overlords at the USDA have been reminding us for years, one of the keys to better health is to eat more whole grains. I found several foods that fit that bill, such as these Veggie Wheat Thins that provide 100% WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT.

And here are the ingredients:

Wheat flour, canola oil, sugar and cornstarch. So they’re not just low in fat; the bit of fat they do contain comes from heart-healthy canola oil! Man, if we all could develop the discipline to live on foods like this, the nation’s health bill would plummet.

If you prefer breakfast foods while eating more whole grains to improve your health, Raisin Bran is a Good Source of FIBER & Made with WHOLE GRAIN.

Best of all, there are only 68 carbs in that little serving of whole-grain goodness.

Froot Loops are also good for you because, as you can see, they provide WHOLE GRAIN 14 g or more per serving.

With all that whole-grain goodness, it probably doesn’t matter that the primary ingredient is sugar. Grab the skim milk, pour it on that whole-grain cereal, and let’s get healthy!

But wait .. what if we don’t have any skim milk? No problem. Kellogg’s makes a healthy cereal bar. I know it’s healthy because Nutri and Grain are both in the name.

And as you can see, there are only 12 grams of sugar and a whopping two grams of protein in one of these nutrition-packed powerhouses.

There’s also a wee bit of fruit. And since fruit in any form is good for us, I was totally jazzed to find these Fruit Medleys, which are Made With REAL FRUIT JUICE and have Colors From Natural Sources. Boy, that’s got to be good for you.

I even found the REAL FRUIT JUICE in the list of ingredients, right after corn syrup and sugar.

Fruit juice is great, but if you want to get really healthy, you need some whole fruit. Luckily, I found these Pop-Tarts, which are Baked with Real Fruit!

Along with the real fruit that’s baked in, you can power up with some wheat flour, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, sugar, and modified food starch. The real fruit that’s baked in is listed down there in the contains less than 10% or less section … but it’s real fruit, so it’s got to be good for you.

So there you have it. Accomplishing your New Year’s goal of becoming healthier has never been easier. Just grab some Froot Loops or Pop-Tarts for breakfast, and you’ll put some real fruit or those all-important whole grains into your body. If you feel like a snack a few hours later (a near-certainty if you eat cereal or pasty for breakfast), you can grab some Wheat Thins for a dose of 100% Whole Grain Wheat. Then wash ‘em down with a yummy cup of Swiss Miss hot chocolate, and you’ll strengthen your bones with as much calcium as an 8-ouce glass of milk.

With all these healthy choices sitting on the shelves in grocery stores and cafeterias all over America, I predict the nation’s diabetes crisis will soon be nothing but a bad memory.

87 Responses to “Wow, Look At All The Foods That Are Good For You!”
  1. Barbara says:

    Beating my head into the wall…

  2. Steve J says:

    Wow, it really is incredible isn’t it. At a local frozen yogurt shop they have a picture of a refrigerator — almost every item in it is low fat or no fat. This of course is there to make people feel better about loading up on sugar at that current meal, but it’s just a microcosm of the macrocosm that always makes me chuckle when I break my carb fast.

  3. Catherine says:

    My employer, Tom, is trying to promote something called Change4Life, here in the UK, which expounds the “virtues” of exactly this type of junk. There is even a phone app that they are encouraging us all to have (I must rush out and get a smart phone just so I can download it).
    The link above takes you to a whole page of twaddle!

  4. Jeanne says:

    I remember those days. Breakfast was Grapenuts with low fat milk. Mid morning snack (I was starving, and had a headache by then) was a couple of whole west bagels. Lunch was lowest yogurt and fat free fig Newtons…
    Now I skip breakfast because I’m keto-adapted and eat nothing processed. My co workers can’t believe I’m 60.

  5. Mike says:

    I could probably remember a day in my not to distant low fat past where I would have ate every single one of those items during the day and not including meals. May have finished off both bags of chips. Those are some high caliber addictive foods.

  6. Dianne says:

    When my husband’s Alzheimer’s reached the point where I had no choice but to put him in a nursing home, I asked one of the staff how they dealt with certain unacceptable behaviors common to people whose minds are gone. The lady told me that it was usually easy to redirect the patients by diverting their attention onto something more acceptable. I guess in the case of these “foods” the unacceptable behavior is noticing all the junk listed in the small print, and they are attempting to redirect us with the big-print banner touting contents people consider desirable. Fortunately for us, our brains are still functioning and we don’t have to let ourselves be fooled by the smoke and mirrors.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I almost feel sorry for people having to dream up health claims for these garbage foods — almost.

      • Dianne says:

        If I couldn’t find a more honest way of making a living, I’d probably slink around apologizing to everyone, the way my nephew did to me when he confessed that his new job was writing phone trees. But then, I don’t suppose you’d get very far in marketing if you had much of a conscience.

      • Walter Bushell says:

        They can’t sell us anything we don’t want to buy.

  7. Elenor says:

    Hey Tom, OT but thought you’d find this book review interesting:

    Vox Day’s Book of the Week:


    This book has the potential to turn the world of evidence-based medicine upside down. It boldly asserts that with regard to everything having to do with evidence, we’re doing it all wrong: probability, statistics, causality, modeling, deciding, communicating—everything. The flavor is probably best conveyed by the title of one of my favorite sections: “Die, p-Value, Die, Die, Die.”

    One fallacy that Briggs chooses for special mention, because it is so common and so harmful, is the epidemiologist fallacy. He prefers his neologism to the more well-known “ecological fallacy” because without this fallacy, “most epidemiologists, especially those employed by the government, would be out of a job.” It is also richer than the ecological fallacy because it occurs whenever an epidemiologist says “X causes Y” but never measures X. Causality is inferred from “wee p-values.” One especially egregious example is the assertion that small particulates in the air (PM 2.5s) cause excess mortality.

    Quantifying the unquantifiable, which is the basis of so much sociological research, creates a “devastation to sound argument…[that] cannot be quantified.”
    end quote

    Vox adds: “Or, as the ancients put it, let reason be silent when experience gainsays its conclusions. All the backtesting and p-values and statistical games are irrelevant if the predictive models fail.”

  8. Daci says:

    And here is yet another fake food that pretends to be healthy with the addition of one ingredient.
    That one ingredient,however has caused some epic responses on a lot of blogs.

    “I’ve done some research and evidently it’s the chicory root that causes the gas. I don’t know about all that, but I do know that the human body is not designed to do what it does after eating these bars.”

    • Tom Naughton says:

      That’s an interesting nutrition label. We need more of those.

      • j says:

        Usually if a food makes us gassy or pass gas, it means we shouldn’t be eating it. So this may be on to something..

        • Hells says:

          Like broccoli, cauliflower, etc. all things i love, but cannot digest without consequence… becoming the family enemy

          • Galina L. says:

            When broccoli and cauliflower are cooked well, not just stir-fried, there are much less materials for gas-producing microbiota to work with.

    • Bob Niland says:

      Thanks for the promotional product copy. It motivated me to update my own article on this madness, which gets a bit more into the specific problems with trendy trade terms.

      On the immediate comment referencing intestinal distress in response to chicory root (often present as inulin, fructan or fructooligosaccharide): that response to modest amounts (less than 25 grams of it as prebiotic fiber) usually says more about the state of that person’s microbiome than it says about this soluble fiber.

      But sure, given that dysbiosis is so pervasive, and getting moreso, packages might benefit from a Note. This problem is likely impeding the addition of prebiotics to processed foods that might otherwise benefit from them.

      And on a previous remark about P-values, I consider them to be a caution flag when I see them in a paper. The obvious implication of them is: we had to do a regression analysis to find a hint of correlation in our scatter-plot graph that otherwise looks like the result of patterning a shotgun.

      When correlations are compelling, it’s visibly obvious from the chart, and maybe even the table – no pee values required.

  9. Walter Bushell says:

    Real fruit juice is most likely mainly if not 100% from frozen concentrate from China, which is the a cheap sweetener and looks better on the label than sugar or HFCS.

    Back in the “Health Food” stores, there are all kinds of fruit juices which whatever they are called have apple juice as the first ingredient. IOW they are flavored apple juice.

    • Mike says:

      White grape juice is another favorite.

      If the juice were fresh pressed from real apples, it wouldn’t much of an improvement, it would still basically be sugar water with a few more vitamins.

      • Walter Bushell says:

        True, but consider the provenance. China is not know for the quality of their agricultural products. Scandals quite frequent, enough trouble in USA about illegal use of insecticides, but consider China.

  10. Clint says:

    I think most people don’t read past the front of the package. And if they did read the ingredients on the back, they probably don’t know what they’re even reading.
    When I go to the groceries I spent a lot of time reading labels, and I’ve noticed that most people don’t, they just reach, grab, and toss in their basket.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      True, many people don’t care about ingredients or health claims. They just buy what tastes good to them.

      • JillOz says:

        I found a package of tortillas or wraps labelled “Lo-Carb” in the supermarket.

        Ingredients are wheat, wheat starch, vegetable oil etc. SO not low carb!

        • Tom Naughton says:

          Often they make wheat products low-carb by removing starch and adding more gluten. Not something I’d want to swallow.

  11. Firebird7478 says:

    The only thing that I can think of that could top this comes from an episode of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”. They went to a diner in Portland, Oregon that was vegan. Everything right down to the peanut butter “cheese cake” was soy, soy and more soy.

    Meat eaters were going in there for the “healthy fare” and proclaimed that many of the foods tasted “just like meat”.

    They showed how they prepared that cheese cake: Soy milk; “vegan margarine”; “Vegan whipping cream”; peanut butter; plenty of real sugar (not vegan sugar).

    I think my nads shrunk just from looking at all that “vegan” alternative, aka SOY!

  12. Amy Dungan says:

    I look at stuff like this and don’t know whether to laugh for cry. It’s funny and sad.

  13. Leo Tat says:

    Hey Tom,

    Good bunch of unhealthy snack photos.

    The Raisin Bran Crunch is so high in fibre that we need to eat almost a kilogram of it to get 140 grams of whole grains.

    I remember seeing the funniest one.

    ‘100% naturally fat free’ – label on a sugar bag.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Fat free sugar … well, that’s got to be good for you — like Snackwell’s.

    • Bob Niland says:

      re: ‘100% naturally fat free’ – label on a sugar bag.

      The extra sad thing about that is that, metabolically speaking, it’s not even true. Thanks to de novo lipogenesis, the liver converts excess carbs to triglycerides (TG) about 6 hours after consumption.

      If we don’t burn excess sugar immediately, it becomes fat (unless insulin resistance is present because we’ve been doing excess carbs for too long already, in which case we might pee it out).

      Consensus medicine is oblivious to this. They rarely look at postprandial BG response, which might give them a hint, and even less often at insuoin responses. They don’t necessarily run the standard lipid panel fasting, so the resulting elevated TG is just one more excuse to prescribe a statin. When they infrequently run an HbA1c, their tiers for it are way too high, and diet is the last thing they suggest changing even when A1c is above their lofty limits.

    • Walter Bushell says:

      You want the cereal that is asbestos free.

  14. Susan George says:

    I dont understand why they all this on food packets. Food is life and you are faking out with someones life.

  15. Michele says:

    That’s a LOT of sugar in those BBQ chips between the sugar, dextrose, molasses, fructose etc.

    I recently took my employer’s health survey because we get a discount on our health insurance premiums if we do. I decided to answer the nutrition section honestly, and now they want to give me nutrition counseling since I don’t eat low fat, and I eat eggs! No thanks. I have lost 35 pounds in the last 4 months eating my “dangerous” diet with real food and nothing processed. I think I will keep doing what I have been doing!

  16. “Man, if we all could develop the discipline to live on toods like this”

    Typo? At first I was sure but then I thought maybe not.

    Seems there ought to be a word for substances that LOOK like food, but really aren’t. No reason not to have a word for it that’s spelled like “food” but really isn’t.

    GMO toods, processed toods, soy toods, hydrogenated toods…

    By golly, I think it’s growing on me.


    • Tom Naughton says:

      Not intentional, but now that you mention it, I rather like it. Rhymes with “food” and sounds a bit like “turd.”

      • Bob Niland says:

        I find Pollan’s “food-like substances” phrase to be useful. People get it right away without feeling like they missed some memo.

        Alas, it describes over 98% of what’s pretending to be food in the modern market.

  17. Glenn says:
    They almost get it right, then they blow it… Where’s the meat and eggs and other good stuff? Maybe it will make someone think, though.

  18. Rae says:

    Reminds me of a box of cereal I saw recently that bragged it had “10 grams of protein!” then in smaller print “with milk.” Or you could just drink some milk for protein and skip the grains… but that’s crazy talk…

  19. Kayla says:

    Tumbleweeds would be blowing down grocery aisles if we removed all the food-like substances from the shelves. And I live in Canada, where we have only a fraction of the processed food options available in the US. I’d love to see it – to have that visual available. Yeah, I need to learn how to Photoshop, because it’ll never happen.

  20. Hugh Mannity says:

    Newsflash! Girl Scout Cookies are now Vegan!

    As if I needed another reason not to eat them.

  21. Mike says:

    Who hydrogenates coconut oil; does it get even more solid at room temperature?

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I wondered that myself.

    • Walter Bushell says:

      Hydrogenates coconut oil is used in nutritional animal experiments. Denise Minger reports that she got an email from Sally Fallon stating that the reason it was initially used was to study essential fatty acid deficiencies. But later it was used because it is a solid fat in all sorts of animal experiments having nothing to do with EFA deficiencies.

      I found this at

      Ah well.

  22. JillOz says:

    Hi Tom, you might enjoy this:

    Teaching Kids How to Spot BS health claims:

    Wonder if they apply that to the lipid hypothesis…;)

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Well, if the kids really do learn how to think critically, they may figure it out for themselves.

      • Walter Bushell says:

        Ya, but teaching kid to think for themselves would disrupt the social order. The meaning of “heretic”, for example, is “one who thinks for himself.” Of course, all the powerful organizations don’t want kids taught critical thinking.

        What is the point of power if you can’t get people to do what you want?

  23. Josh says:


    I am glad you have seen the light. Finally!

    You now understand two truths of the processed food marketing industry:

    First, If something is bad (gluten, fat, wheat, carbs, trans-fats, artificial colors, etc.) and the processed food does NOT have it, then the food is good for you. Ignore the other stuff in the processed food.

    Two, if the processed food has something good (veggies, fruit, organic whatever) for you IN it in any quantity whatever no matter how small, then it is good for you. Ignore the other stuff in the processed food.

    Once you ‘get’ that, you have joined the enlightened. Congratulations. I think. Maybe….

  24. Angela says:

    What, you mean 12 teaspoons of sugar isn’t a healthy breakfast (that’s before the additional sugar in the presumably added milk)…I know if I ate almost 12 teaspoons of sugar in that Raisin Bran (and let’s go ahead and round up to the 12 tsp, because the milk will also contain some carbs), I would sure feel AWESOME. For about 12 minutes…And people feed their kids this stuff too!

    Good for you getting back on track after the holidays!

  25. Joe says:

    This sort of thing was my primary response against people that demanded GMO labeling on every product. If a product in non-GMO, it will already be all over the label. If a marketer can find ANY claim to put on a product to make it seem healthy, they will take quick advantage.

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