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Comparison of Popular Processed Foods With Their Health Food Counterparts

Processed Food Wars: Popular Brands vs. Health Food

I grew up with processed mainstream foods like most kids. Kraft Mac & Cheese, Ellios Pizza, and Ore-Ida Tater Tots were some of my faves. Since processed foods like those aren't the most nutritious, natural foods companies decided to make healthier versions. Are they really better for us? I've already compared cereals and found the natural versions contained less sugar and sodium. So let's see how other foods compare.

Food Calories Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Carbs (g) Fiber (g) Sugars (g) Protein (g)
Triscuits (6 crackers) 120 4.5 180 19 3 0 3
Kashi Heart to Heart Original (7 crackers) 120 3.5 85 22 4 0 3

I compared some other foods so to see the stats


Food Calories Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Carbs (g) Fiber (g) Sugars (g) Protein (g)
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (1 cup) 410 3.5 580 48 1 6 9
Annie's Shells & Aged Cheddar (1 cup) 280 4 530 46 2 5 10
Food Calories Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Carbs (g) Fiber (g) Sugars (g) Protein (g)
DiGiorno Four Cheese Thin Crust Pizza (1/5 pizza, 130 g) 310 13 660 32 3 5 18
Amy's Kitchen Cheese Pizza (1/3 pizza, 123 g) 290 12 590 33 2 4 12
Food Calories Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Carbs (g) Fiber (g) Sugars (g) Protein (g)
Ore Ida Golden Fries (84 g) 130 3.5 310 21 2 less than 1 2
Alexia Yukon Gold Julienne Fries (85 g) 130 3.5 180 22 2 0 2
Food Calories Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Carbs (g) Fiber (g) Sugars (g) Protein (g)
Oreos (2 cookies) 107 4.6 126.7 16.7 .6 9.3 1.3
Newman's Own Organic Newman-O's (2 cookies) 130 4.5 85 20 1 10 2

As you can see, the healthier versions of these processed foods are generally better for you when it comes to calories and sodium. I didn't list the ingredients, but the healthier versions contain less junk, which also makes them worth the splurge.

Join The Conversation
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 7 years
If you eat REAL food you will be healthier then eating "healthy" processed food. Additives or not. Get a good noodle, put some real cheese in it, some real milk, and voila, mac and cheese.
blackdresses88 blackdresses88 7 years
Well this was a real eye opener. It's amazing how similar they are! I was especially shocked by the Oreos vs. Newman's own. Are those stats right? Do Oreos really have more fiber than Newman's own? You know what, I think if you had compared these products a few years back, the brands known as being less healthy would have displayed very different stats. But what with the "nutrition and fitness" trend that's become very popular, these major brands realized they needed to be able to compete with healthier foods. Then again, we know that not every brand is perfectly honest about their nutrition facts...
Spectra Spectra 7 years
This just goes to prove my point that processed food is processed food, organic or not. It seems to me that all the "healthy" junk foods are pretty much the same as the regular commercial counterparts. I don't see how you can justify eating "organic" french fries and say that they're so much better for you than regular ones. I'm also kind of curious about the difference between the Kraft Mac and Cheese and the Amy's version...from the nutritional data, they look to be pretty much the same. I'm wondering if it's supposed to be 310 and 280?
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
Yeah, the "healthy" versions aren't really that much better for you, in terms of straight numbers. There are a few exceptions, but generally the differences aren't that large, particularly when you consider the recommended daily sodium intake.
kia kia 7 years
It's because of the "health" processed foods that folks call Whole Foods "Whole Paycheck." Eat real food when you can, limit this convenience stuff for your health and wallet.
runswimmerrun runswimmerrun 7 years
"How is there a 130 cal difference..." <--- I want to know too.
michlny michlny 7 years
The quality of and actual ingredients are what counts even more....
J-Rabbit J-Rabbit 7 years
Very interesting... Thanks, Fit!
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