One phrase I hear and read frequently is that "if you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't eat it." While on the surface, this might be a sentiment that makes sense--an encouragement to avoid more processed food items, it's likely an oversimplification. For example, I exposed my body to methylxanthine alkaloid 1,3,7-trimethylpurine-2,6-dione first thing this morning. You probably did too, as it's the caffeine in your morning coffee.
What about this label? Definitely, a lot going on here, chemically.
How about this one?
Here are the foods that accompany those long labels. Feel a bit differently now?
Photos from Forbes.com
Reading ingredient lists can feel like going back to high school chemistry class, but big
words don't necessarily mean bad things. The number of ingredients really doesn't have any bearing on how healthy or unhealthy a food is. The French fries at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries have only three ingredients, but they're not something you'd want to indulge in regularly. And the long list of ingredients on a box of PopTarts is really the least of its problems. Instead of using an arbitrary measure such as number of ingredients or the ability to pronounce, look at the whole picture when it comes to food.