Nutrition Foundation

Real food

Real food

More than half the food eaten in the UK is ultra-processed. Which is why it is important to pay attention to what we eat. ‘Real food’ is a phrase that is used to describe food that is unprocessed or minimally processed.

Some features that help to identify ‘real food’:

  • It looks like food our ancestors would have recognised.
  • It doesn’t need an ingredients list (broccoli or chicken don’t have ingredients), or if there is an ingredients list it typically has less than 4 or 5 ingredients.

Focusing on eating ‘real food’ means you are unlikely to consume a lot of sugar or refined carbohydrates. The food you are eating will contain important micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). ‘Real food’ also is more likely to suit how our digestive system works and will not contain additives.

To improve health consider

  • Aim for at least 80% of your meals to be real food.


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