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What is ‘Realfooding’ and why is it important for your health?

There is a social movement increasing its importance and visibility in Spain. It’s called ‘Realfooding’ and its success lies in the fact that it is based just on following a healthy diet and, in the meantime, uncover the economic interests behind the food industry to understand why certain products are bad for our health and even dangerous but they are sold as healthy.

Let’s start from the beginning. ‘Realfooding’ is defined as a lifestyle based on eating real food and avoiding ultra-processed foods. It defends it is not to a weight loss diet to follow, a diet that involves starving, or just eat chicken and lettuce… It is all about being aware of what food is good for our health and what food is not. It assures there is food related to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

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Real food, well-processed, and ultra-processed food

‘Realfooders’, as people who follow ‘Realfooding’ is known, classifies food into three groups: real food, well-processed food, and ultra-processed foods. Real food is vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish and seafood, eggs, not processed meat, fresh milk, seeds, tubers, grains, coffee, and infusions. Is food whose healthy properties have not been altered.

Well-processed food is extra virgin olive oil, 100% whole-grain bread, pot legumes, canned fish, frozen real food, vacuum-packed real food, vegetable drinks without added sugar, acorn-fed Iberian ham, or dark chocolate or cocoa powder >70%. It is real food with some kind of industrial or artisanal processing that does not take away its quality but makes it more durable, safe, tasty, or practical.

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Realfooding gives us some tips to understand what kind of products are good processed. In the first place, they normally are packed and have one to five ingredients (they cannot include more than 10% of sugar, refined flour, or refined vegetable oils.

In the last place, ultra-processed food is the opposite of real food. You will understand with some examples: sugar drinks, energetic drinks, packed orange juices, refined bread, cookies, pastries, refined cereals, pre-cooked food, salty snacks, sweets, trinkets, and ice cream, fast-food…

They defend to prioritise real food and well-processed food and avoid ultra-processed food. If you sometimes eat that kind of product (around 10% of your diet) is fine, but the goal is, little by little, to eliminate them from your diet. The less you eat ultra-processed food, the better for your health.

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What is the problem with ultra-processed food?

Realfooding explains that ultra-processed food is industrial preparations made from substances from other food or synthetics with different processing techniques whose consumption has negative effects on health. They are insane because are rich in added sugars, refined fats, salt, or additives. They are artificially dense in calories, are poor in nutrients, inhibit our natural satiety mechanisms,  and have more advertising and marketing than real food.

You can differentiate them because they usually have more than five ingredients and include refined vegetable oils, refined flour, added sugars, additives, and salt. Realfooding assures chronic illness is the very first reason for morbidity and mortality in Spain and all these kinds of illnesses have a common factor: the consumption of ultra-processed food. 

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Who is behind ‘Realfooding’?

The creator of ‘Realfooding’ is Carlos Ríos, a nutritionist and dietist from the south of Spain who has created a social media community with more than one million followers.

Although it is difficult to believe that eating real food could be criticized, this lifestyle has attracted critical voices trying to devalue the speech of Carlos Rios, ensuring his followers can become obsessed, or this lifestyle is capable of creating eating disorders. So it is up you to believe… Are it’s critics vocal because they rise against huge corporations with a lot of power in public opinion, or is it just another diet whose fundamentals do no convince many people?

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