Avoid Ultra-Processed Foods During the Holidays
Healthy Articles

How to Avoid Ultra-Processed Foods During the Holidays (Delicious Replacements)

Once again, new research confirms the devastating truth about our current food supply: ultra-processed foods are killing us. Ultra-processed foods are those commercial, processed foods that contain a lot of processed fats and sugars. Most of these fats are hydrogenated or sources from soybean oil, making them harmful to health.  It’s imperative to avoid ultra-processed foods as much as possible.

In a new study published this month of more than 100,000 participants, researchers found that consumption of ultra-processed foods is significantly linked to an increase in the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes (1). Previous studies have found that ultra-processed foods increase the overall risk of death!

Here are 5 common unhealthy holiday foods, why you avoid them, and what to use to replace them.

5 Most Unhealthy Holiday Foods – Avoid Ultra-Processed Foods & Replace Them

1.Eggnog (Commercial, Lucerne)

Ingredients: Nonfat Milk, Cream, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Egg Yolk, Contains Less Than 1% Of: Whey, Corn Starch, Guar Gum, Salt, Nutmeg, Carrageenan, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Turmeric And Annatto (color).

Nutrition Information (per 8 ounces): 300 calories, 8 grams fat, 30 grams carbs, 0 grams fiber (30 grams net carbs), 8 grams protein

Comments: In terms of ingredients, the high fructose corn syrup is the most concerning. Not only is it associated with fat storage and metabolic imbalances, but it is also a very fast-acting carbohydrate that will raise blood sugars quickly and substantially. In fact, this Eggnog’s 30 grams of net carbohydrates will kick you out of the Keto Zone in one quick cup!

Better Choice: Homemade Keto Zone Eggnog. Find the recipe here

2. Store-Bought Sugar Cookies (Walmart)

Ingredients: Sugar, Enriched Bleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Margarine (Palm Oil, Water, Soybean Oil, Salt, Mono— And Diglycerides, Calcium Disodium EDTA[Preservative], Artificial Flavor, Annatto Extract [Color], Vitamin A Palmitate), Eggs, Water, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Cornstarch, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Oil, Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Modified Food Starch, Polysorbate 60, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Nonfat Milk, Confectioner’s Glaze, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Sodium Propionate (Preservative), Blue 1 Lake, Carnauba Wax, Red 3, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake.

Nutrition Information: 190 calories, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 31 grams net carbs, 2 grams protein

Comments: Ketones don’t stand a chance with 31 grams net carbs per cookie. So, if you want to stay in the Keto Zone and experience all the fat loss, healthy body, mental focus benefits of it, avoid these cookies. In addition, they are loaded with soybean oil, dyes, refined flour, and preservatives.

Better Choice: With only 1 gram net carbs and a delicious flavor, try our Keto Zone Christmas Cookies. Find the recipe here.

3. Appetizer Dips Made with Commercial Mayo

Ingredients (in commercial mayo, Best Foods brand): Soybean Oil, Water, Whole Eggs And Egg Yolks, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Sugar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Calcium Disodium Edta (used To Protect Quality), Natural Flavors.

Nutrition Information (per 1 tablespoon): 100 calories, 11 grams fat, 0 grams carbs, 0 grams protein

Comments: Of course, it’s not the carbohydrates, or even the amount of fat that an issue in mayo, or in dips made with. The problem is the source of the fat: soybean oil. Soybean oil is a cheap oil often used in commercial foods. It is extremely high in omega-6s, which compete in the body with omega-3s. It is associated with metabolic disorders (2), detrimental levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (3), and increases in inflammation (4). In addition, preservatives come with their own health concerns. Make it fresh instead!

Better Choice: Keto Zone Spicy Ginger Dip made with health-promoting avocados. Find the recipe here

4. Processed Cheese Yule Log (Made with Velveeta)

Ingredients (Velveeta): Skim Milk, Milk Protein Concentrate, Canola Oil, Whey, Sodium Phosphate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Contains Less Than 2% of Modified Food Starch, Maltodextrin, Salt, Calcium Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Sorbic Acid as a Preservative, Milkfat, Sodium Alginate, Sodium Citrate, Enzymes, Cheese Culture, Apocarotenal, and Annatto (Color).

Nutrition Information (Velveeta, per ounce): 70 calories, 4 grams fat, 3 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fiber, 3 grams net carbs, 4 grams protein 

Comments: When I think of “processed,” Velveeta is one of the first things that comes to mind. Since cheese is a natural food that is delicious on its own, it’s curious that there is a “need” for a processed version. Mostly, it is used because it melts and mixes well. But, with 3+ types of preservatives and omega-6 canola oil, it’s nowhere near as good as real cheese.

Better Choice: Serve a cheese and meat plate, or use a recipe that uses goat cheese or natural cream cheese instead.

5. Casseroles Made with Canned “Cream of” Soups

Ingredients (Campbells Cream of Mushroom): Water, Mushrooms, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Cotton Seed, Canola, And/or Soybean), Modified Food Starch, Wheat Flour, Contains Less Than 2% Of: Salt, Monosodium Glutamate, Soy Protein Concentrate, Dehydrated Cream(cream [ Milk] , Soy Lecithin), Yeast Extract, Flavoring, Dehydrated Garlic

Comments: Unfortunately, this classic ingredient in holiday dishes is a no-go if you want to stay in the Keto Zone and promote health in your body. First, it contains high-omega 6 oils (see mayo above) including corn, cottonseed, canola, and/or soybean. Then, monosodium glutamate (MSG). This flavoring functions as a preservative, and is associated with headaches are more for many people.

Better Choice: Make our delicious Keto Zone Green Bean Casserole. No cream of mushroom soup, but plenty of real mushrooms and a secret ingredient. Readers called this one their favorite new recipe after Thanksgiving! Find it here.

Bottom Line

You can make your Christmas feast better and healthier by paying special attention to ingredients. Avoid ultra-processed foods during the Holidays and every other day of the year. They are simply not worth the risk to your health, will generally take you out of the Keto Zone, and increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and death.

Instead, stay healthy and nourished this Christmas.



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