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Define real food in one sentence, GO!

Sometimes eating healthy becomes more complicated than it needs to be.

Take coffee, for example. One study shows it is a major source of antioxidants that will protect you from cancer, while another links it to colon cancer. Or you may have heard that drinking one cup per day is acceptable, and another shows you need to have at least 3 cups per day to receive any health benefit.

While I’m a nutrition science junkie, most people aren’t. And this constant battle of study vs. study is not interesting, but simply annoying and confusing. Truthfully, we don’t know and never will know exactly what amount of coffee is healthy or not.

But that’s beside my point.

If you are going to focus on just one thing in your diet, I would encourage you to follow my “Golden Rule” for choosing real food.

If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!

And, by the way, if you have a degree in organic chemistry or food science, your scientific vocabulary exempt you. 🙂


PS – Can you spot the ingredient in this photo that is the source of trans fat?
PSS – Bonus points if you can identify what type of food product this label came from.

If you know the answer to either of the above or you’d like to tell me about your own “Golden Rule” for choosing real food, leave it in the comments below!

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.


Leave a comment
  1. partially hydrogenated soybean?

    Baby formula?? coffee creamer?

    • Nice Jane! Yes, the code words for trans fats in the ingredient list are “partially hydrogenated _______ [insert vegetable oil of choice]”.

      The product is sugar-free coffee creamer! I love how corn syrup is the main ingredient, yet the manufacturer gets away with calling it sugar-free because it has <1g of sugar per serving. Ridiculous.

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