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What's Really in Our Food?

In an exclusive excerpt from his new book, Eat It to Beat It!, Men’s Fitness consulting editorial director David Zinczenko answers that question.

EAT IT! (left) Wendy's Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe: 350 calories, 19g fat, 7g saturated fat, 830mg sodium, 2g fiber, 7g sugar, 17g protein
BEAT IT! (right) Ruby Tuesday Bacon Cheese Pretzel Burger: 1,759 calories, 105g fat, 3,257mg sodium, 9g fiber, 68g protein

Why Is Our Food So Weird?

As I said, there are more than 3,000 food additives approved by the FDA, and all of them have been proven safe for human consumption.

No, wait that’s not true. In fact, the FDA doesn’t even assess food additives. Manufacturers themselves decide—with absolutely no government or independent oversight—that additives and preservatives meet a standard known as “generally recognized as safe,” also known by the acronym GRAS. So, basically, if the manufacturer says there’s no definitive proof that what they’re adding to our food causes issues like, say, weight gain or diabetes or asthma, then they can do what they like. It’s like telling us to go ahead and jump into a dark swamp because there’s no definitive proof that a swarm of hungry crocodiles is waiting below. (I, for one, like to take a little looksee around before risking a headfirst leap into the jaws of death. But that’s just me.)

9 Scary Food Additives to Avoid >>>

And that’s too bad, because, like you, I love junk food. Unlike most healthy-eating advocates, I’m not all about forsaking fries and Fudgsicles for falafel and fruit salad. After all, our grandparents wooed each other at the soda shop over burgers and chocolate malts; why can’t we have the same kind of fun? 

They’re taking all the good, clean fun out of eating bad!

And if you don’t think all these crazy additives and preservatives are having an impact on your weight, just look at a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that the average restaurant meal contains:

  • 1,128 calories, or about 56% of the average person’s daily calorie intake
  • 2,269 milligrams of sodium, or 151% of a person’s daily recommended intake. (In fact, researchers consider 600 milligrams or less a “healthy” meal, yet only 1% of all chain restaurant meals meet this standard!)
  • 58 grams of fat (89% of what we should eat in a day)

Sodium Shockers in Your Everyday Diet >>>

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