Trying new local cuisines at the source is one of the best things about traveling. But it can also be fun to try foods you normally eat at home and compare how different they are from what you are used to. For example, while some portions may be smaller and other dishes may include slightly different variations to suit regional preferences, there are some American foods that are simply made healthier in other countries.
“The big food industry would say that European countries are taking a more precautionary approach,” says dietitian Johna Burdeos. “My question is: why? Why do they have to be more cautious?”
Adds Burdeos: “What (or who) it would hurt to do the [American] food the same way it is produced in other countries? What is the risk or harm of removing ingredients that are not in foods in other countries? “
As Dr. Heather Rayle, The Paleo Diet Coach explains, “These foods demonstrate why consumers must read nutrition labels! Among multiple sweeteners listed (several sweeteners are often used to avoid listing a sweetener as a primary component of foods), artificial food colors and synthetic chemicals used as stabilizers and preservatives, consumers need to understand what they are consuming when they eat processed foods like these. “
The following are examples of American foods available in healthier versions in Europe.
And don’t miss 5 American food ingredients that are banned in other countries.
Dr. Rayle states that when it comes to Heinz Ketchup, “the American version contains both high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and corn syrup as the main ingredients after the tomatoes.” The FDA explains that while “HFCS is derived from corn starch”, “it is ‘rich’ in fructose compared to the pure glucose found in corn syrup.” According to Dr. Rayle, “HFCS pose a health risk when consumed in large quantities.”
The British version of Heinz Ketchup, on the other hand, “uses brown sugar,” as Dr. Rayle notes, adding that “although sugar is not the best choice in a diet, it does not contain fructose, so it is a better choice in as much as a sweetener. “
According to Dr. Rayle, there is more than one reason why the British version of Quaker Instant Oatmeal Packets is healthier than what you can buy in American grocery stores. “The American version contains an artificial strawberry flavor (made in the laboratory) while the British version has freeze-dried fruit pieces,” points out Dr. Rayle, adding that the US version also contains synthetic food colors.
It’s no secret that some drinks aren’t great for your body. In fact, soda may be even worse for your health than you thought. This applies to various types of sodas, including Mountain Dew. Dr. Rayle notes that “the US version contains both HFCS and concentrated orange juice sweeteners, while the UK version uses brown sugar.” Additionally, the dye used in the American version is a synthetic chemical, Yellow 5, while the British version uses dyes derived from beta carotene, which is found in carrots.
Just like soda, fast food does not tend to be the healthiest option and it turns out to be even more unhealthy in the US than what diners in the UK eat.This is due to the fact that the US version contains dimethylpolysiloxane, a chemical used to defoam cooking oil, which is something the fast food chain leaves out in the UK
According to food ingredients investigator Vani Hari, aka Food Babe, “The FDA allows dimethylpolysiloxane to be preserved from several chemicals that don’t need to be listed on the label, including formaldehyde! Formaldehyde is one of the most toxic substances on earth. linked to allergies, brain damage, cancer and autoimmune diseases. “
“This ‘food’ is a great example of artificial flavors used to enhance a food’s palatability,” according to Dr. Rayle. “The American version uses corn syrup, sugar and dextrose as sweeteners, while the British version uses sugar and glucose syrup (sugar solution).”
It’s not all. When it comes to Doritos, “the American version uses three synthetic dyes while the British version uses annatto, which is derived from a seed and is a more natural product.”
Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy snack options that you are sure to find just as tasty.