There is Nothing Healthy About this Choice

My husband had tried the Bow-Flex diet years ago and tried it again about 6-months back. It worked when he did it both times, he lost weight, but then gained it back. This morning I went to do inventory in our freezer before I went food shopping. I found one of his Healthy Choices that the Bow-Flex diet had specified as a dinner, turned the package over, read the ingredients and got really upset. Upset, because people are eating this every day, possibly for every lunch and dinner, thinking it is healthy for them — “healthy” because it contains 270 calories, 19 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber that the company so proudly displays on the front of the package. (Most of us make our food purchasing decisions based on what the front of a package says rather than reading the ingredients, and the food companies know this.) But, is this what constitutes “healthy?”

Healthy consists of so much more than calories. We also have to consider preservatives, refined sugars, oils, artificial colors, msg, bleached flours, and above all, GMOs. As you will see from the following “ingredient” breakdown, there is a lot more than reduced calories going on in that little green box.

Here are the ingredients in the “Healthy Choice” Golden Roasted Turkey Breast dinner:

1. Turkey And Gravy (Turkey Breast Medallions with Binders [Turkey Breast, Water, Contains 2% or Less of: Isolated Soy Protein {Isolated Soy Protein, Modified Food Starch, Starch, Carrageenan, Soy Lecithin}, Olive Oil, Chicken Broth Powder {Maldoextrin, Chicken Broth, Salt, Flavors}, Dextrose, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Potassium and Sodium Phosphates, Seasoning {Spice Extractives with Polysorbate 80, Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Flavor}], Gravy [Water, Contains 2% or Less of: Rendered Chicken Fat, Modified Food Starch, Turkey Flavor [Turkey Type Flavor (Contains Turkey Broth, Ascorbic Acid), Salt, Dextrose, Hydrolyzed Corn Glueten and Soy Protein, Maltodextrin, Flavor, Yeast Extract (Contains Yeast Extract, Palm Kernel Oil and Rape Seed Oil, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Flavoring), Modified Corn Starch, Citric Acid, Inactive Dried Yeast, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed and Soybean Oil, Succinic Acid}, Flavoring, Onion Powder, Flavors, Salt, Wheat Flour, Maltodextrin, Chicken Borth, Rosemary, Thyme, Spice, Mono-Diglycerides, Caramel Color, Annatto Color, Oleoresin Paprika, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum])

2. Cherry Blueberry Dessert (Cherries, Bueberries, Water, Brown Sugar, Cherry Juice Concentrate, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Almond Extract)

3. Green Beans

4. Water

5. Croutons (Enriched Wheat Flour [Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Yeast, Sugar, Wheat Glueten, Vinegar)

6. Contains 2% or Less of: Celery, Onions, Maltodextrin, Chicken Broth, Salt, Sugar, Spices, Flavorings, Parsley Flakes.

There are so many things that upset me about these ingredients that I honestly don’t know where to start when breaking them down. The easiest place for me to start would be to point out all of the GMO ingredients in this product. Processed foods often contain hidden GM (genetically modified) sources (unless they are organic or declared non-GMO). The following are ingredients that may be made from GMOs (if there are additional elements about the ingredients which needs to be noted, I will include):

Caramel Color: The sugar in caramel coloring is treated with ammonia, which can produce some nasty carcinogens. A Center for Science in the Public Interest report asserted that the high levels of caramel color found in soda account for roughly 15,000 cancers in the U.S. annually.

Canola Oil (rapeseed): Canola or rapeseed oil is poisonous to living things and is an excellent insect repellent. It is an industrial oil, not a food. It is a genetically modified plant designed through intensive breeding and genetic engineering techniques. The Canadian government and industry paid the FDA $50 million dollars to have canola oil placed on the (GRAS) List, “Generally Recognized As Safe”. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find products that do not contain Canola oil. Over-consumption of oils like canola cause an abundance of Omega 6 fatty acids — this imbalance increases the risk of inflammation, heart disease, obesity, and prostate and bone cancer. Information Provided By:

Hydrolyzed Corn GlutenHydrolyzed protein or gluten (or HVP/HVG) is protein that has been hydrolyzed or broken down into its component amino acids. According to the FDA, hydrolyzed protein is used to enhance flavor and contains monosodium glutamate. When added this way, the labels are not required to list MSG as an ingredient. The food additive “MSG” is a slow poison which hides behind dozens of names, such as natural flavoring, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, caseinate, textured protein, hydrolyzed pea protein and many others. Currently, labeling standards do not require MSG to be listed in the ingredient list of thousands of foods. MSG is not a nutrient, vitamin, or mineral and has no health benefits. The part of MSG that negatively affects the human body is the “glutamate”, not the sodium. The bound glutamic acid in certain foods (corn, molasses, wheat) is broken down or made “free” by various processes (hydrolyzed, autolyzed, modified or fermented with strong chemicals, bacteria, or enzymes) and refined to a white crystal that resembles sugar. There are a growing number of Clinicians and Scientists who are convinced that excitotoxins play a critical role in the development of several neurological disorders, including migraines, seizures, infections, abnormal neural development, certain endocrine disorders, specific types of obesity, and especially the neurodegenerative diseases; a group of diseases which includes: ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Information Provided By: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed and Soybean Oil: Don’t confuse “0 g trans fat” with being trans fat-free. The FDA allows products to claim zero grams of trans fat as long as they have less than half a gram per serving. That means they can have 0.49 grams per serving and still be labeled a no-trans-fat food. Considering that two grams is the absolute most you ought to consume in a day, those fractions can quickly add up.  Look for partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient statement. If it’s anywhere on there, then you’re ingesting artery-clogging trans fat.

Sugar (unless cane — I am guessing this product does not contain cane sugar.) The single largest source of calories for Americans comes from sugar. Sugar is loaded into your soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, and hidden in almost all processed foods–from bologna to pretzels to Worcestershire sauce to cheese spread. And now most infant formula has the sugar equivalent of one can of Coca-Cola, so babies are being metabolically poisoned from day one if taking formula. Sugar changes metabolism, raises blood pressure, critically alters the signaling of hormones and causes significant damage to the liver — the least understood of sugar’s damages. If it’s not a natural sugar, it doesn’t belong in your food. Information Provided By:

“Cancer cells need sugar to thrive. When you consume sugar-laden foods, your pancreas’ beta cells produce insulin. By consuming sugar excessively, an overproduction of insulin may occur and you may become immune to its effects. Reducing sugar intake and normalizing your insulin levels can lower your risk of cancer.” – Dr. Joseph Mercola

Soy Lecithin: Soy Lecithin has been lingering around our food supply for over a century. It is an ingredient in literally hundreds of processed foods, and also sold as an over the counter health food supplement. However, most people don’t realize what soy lecithin actually is, and why the dangers of ingesting this additive far exceed its benefits. Soybean lecithin comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a “degumming” process. It is a waste product containing solvents and pesticides. The toxic hexane extraction process is what is commonly used in soybean oil manufacture today. Another big problem associated with soy lecithin comes from the origin of the soy itself. Look out for this emulsifier in ice creams, chocolate and many processed creams. Information Provided By:

Soy Protein: Although it’s often lauded as a healthy, cholesterol-free, cheap, low-fat protein alternative to meat, soy is NOT a health food. Any foods that list soy in any form as an ingredient should be avoided. Soy protein, soy isolate, and soy oil are present in about 60 percent of the foods on the market and have been shown to impair fertility and affect estrogen in women, lower sex drive, and trigger puberty early in children. Soy can also add to the imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The only soy products fit for human consumption are fermented and organic and you will never find this type of soy in any processed foods. The majority of soy is GMO and you can’t get around this. Information Provided By:

Some other potential GM ingredeints are: Dextrose, Maltodextrin, Modified Food Starch, Modified Corn Starch, Mono-Diglycerides, Starch

For more ways to keep GMOs off the menu at your house, read How to Avoid GMOs. GMO labeling will be coming years down the road… look for this label on the products you purchase and you can be assured they are GMO free! 


The following are not GM (genetically modified), but still upset me:

Carrageenan is a common food additive that is extracted from a red seaweed, Chondrus crispus. Carrageenan, which has no nutritional value, is used as a thickener and emulsifier to improve the texture of ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, soy milk and other processed foods. All forms of carrageenan are capable of causing inflammation… chronic inflammation is a root cause of many serious diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and cancer.

Polysorbate 80: Polysorbate 80 has been found to negatively affect the immune system and cause severe anaphylactic shock which can kill. Food and Chemical Toxicology has shown that Polysorbate 80 causes infertility. It accelerates maturing, causes changes to the vagina and womb lining, hormonal changes, ovary deformities and degenerative follicles. What is very suspicious about this ingredient is its addition to vaccines. Scientists are obviously aware of its ability to cause infertility yet it continues to appear in children’s vaccines. You will also commonly find this in a child’s favorite treat, ice cream. Information Provided By:

If you go to the Healthy Choice website this is what they have written about their “standards”:

In the very beginning, Healthy Choice worked with the FDA to help first define what it means to have “healthy” in a product’s name. Since then, we’ve rigorously created only products that qualify within these guidelines for fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, and remain the only major brand in the frozen meals section that can proudly call all of its food “healthy.”  To help show you the difference this health-conscious approach to good eating has made, here’s a chart illustrating the results of a study that was conducted comparing Healthy Choice single serving meals to the average American’s lunch and dinner. We’re pleased to say it speaks for itself.

Healthy Choicechart-calorieschart-sodium

Their chart speaks for itself in terms of fat, calories and salt, but what about the chemicals that makeup this “meal”?  Just because it is low in calories, saturated fat and sodium does not mean it is healthy. It may help you lose weight, but at what cost? Please read your labels and reconsider what it means to be “healthy”.

An alternative to this meal would be to broil, grill or bake a bunch of chicken (preferably organic) sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt and pepper, steam some green beans and cut up some fresh fruit. Divide into individual servings in a container in your fridge. Grab and go!

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~ “There is no diet that will do what healthy eating does. Skip the diet. Just eat healthy.”

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