What Does Real Versus Fake Food Look Like?

The same food can be packaged in many ways. You can have an apple, or the apple can be turned into applesauce or apple pie. There are advantages, like convenience, but also disadvantages, like some options aren’t as nutritious. In some cases, the way a food is processed is so far from the food it started as that you can think of it as fake. Because these fake foods carry with them lots of unhealthy nutrients, like sugar, sodium or saturated fat, you really want to steer clear of eating them too often. Here are five foods where this can happen.

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One cup of cherries has 15 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C and a healthy dose of vitamin A. They’re also bursting with two anti-inflammatory antioxidants called anthocyanin and quercetin.

Per serving: Calories 87; Fat 0 g (Saturated 0 g); Carbohydrate 22 g; Fiber 3 g; Sugars 18 g

Cherry Gelatin Dessert

Cherry gelatin contains nothing more than sugar — no vitamins, no minerals, nothing. Although it contains a few fewer calories than the fruit, 100 percent of the carbs are in the form of sugar.

Per serving (1/4 package): Calories 80; Fat 0 g (Saturated 0 g); Carbohydrate 19 g; Fiber 0 g; Sugars 19 g


Three ounces of uncooked pork tenderloin is a lean way to get in a healthy dose of protein. It’s also a good source of several B vitamins and selenium.

Per serving (3 ounces): Calories 65; Fat 2 g (Saturated 0 g); Sodium: 45 mg; Protein 18 g

Canned Pork Product

Three ounces of minced canned pork has eight times the amount of fat and over 17 times the amount of sodium — and the taste just doesn’t come close to the real deal.

Per serving (2 ounces): Calories 180; Fat 16 g (Saturated 6 g); Sodium 790 mg; Protein 7 g

Cheddar Cheese

An ounce of cheddar has a fair number of calories (as do all cheeses), but it also carries with it 10 percent of the daily recommended amount of calcium. It counts toward your recommended three daily servings of dairy.

Per serving (1 ounce): Calories 114; Fat 9.5 g (Saturated 5 g); Sodium 174 mg; Protein 7 g

Jarred Cheese Dip

One serving (2 tablespoons) of this processed cheese food has only 8 percent of the daily recommended amount of calcium and isn’t considered a serving of any food group. It also contains over twice the recommended amount of sodium and has more than 28 ingredients listed on the label. For the 30 calories you save by eating this instead of real cheese, it just isn’t worth it.

Per serving: Calories 80; Fat 5 g (Saturated 1 g); Sodium 410 mg; Protein 3 g

Maple Syrup

When choosing syrup to top your pancakes, look for 100 percent pure maple syrup, which is made of one ingredient: maple syrup. It also contains small amounts of B vitamins, zinc and potassium.

Per serving: Calories 104; Carbohydrate 27 g; Sugars 24 g

Pancake Syrup

The fake stuff contains no maple syrup at all, just manmade sweeteners, usually high-fructose corn syrup, and plenty of artificial ingredients, colors and preservatives. Although the numbers on the label come out similarly to those for maple syrup, the ingredients tell the full story.

Per serving: Calories 106; Carbohydrate 28 g; Sugars 17 g

Chicken Breast

Three ounces of cooked chicken breast has almost 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of niacin, 55 percent of selenium and about 40 percent of vitamin B6.

Per serving (3 ounces cooked): Calories 138; Fat: 3 g (Saturated 0 g); Sodium 63 mg; Protein 27 g

Chicken Nuggets

Processing does a number on an average frozen chicken nugget. Three ounces contains almost twice the number of calories as chicken breast, six times more fat, over seven times more sodium and less than half the amount of protein. Processing also destroys much of the vitamins present in chicken breast, so the nuggets have only trace amounts.

Per serving: Calories 249; Fat 18 g (Saturated 3 g); Sodium 468 mg; Protein 12 g