Whole Foods maintains a list of ‘Unacceptable Ingredients” which includes everything from MSG to high fructose corn syrup. It also includes artificial colors, artificial preservatives, hydrogenated fats, etc. You can see the whole list, updated periodically, here. But did you know that about 54% of the products sold in stores like Walmart would be banned from Whole Foods due to containing dangerous ingredients? Check out the real differences below.
GMOS. While Whole Foods has yet to pull all GMO ingredients from their store, they also partner with Non-GMO Verified Project to offer numerous products that do not contain genetically modified ingredients, and they plan to eliminate products which contain them by 2018. They are pervasive in our food supply so it is very difficult to eliminate them, since they currently aren’t required to be labeled as ‘GMO’ by law.
Putting aside GMOs for the moment, how many of the groceries sold at Walmart would never be stocked on Whole Foods shelves? The 78 ingredients on their blacklist end up comprising over 54% of all the foods sold in Walmart stores. What’s more, approximately 97% of the soft drinks/soda sold at Walmart contain ingredients that Whole Foods considers “unacceptable”. High fructose corn syrup and the preservative sodium benzoate are primary culprits.
With its supercenters and over 3000 stores in the U.S., Walmart feeds much of America. Actually, it’s the largest grocery store in our country. Whole Foods, on the other hand, only has about 300 stores nationwide. We’ll be able to tell the overall health-consciousness of the country based on how Whole Foods grows in the coming years.
It is arguably cheaper to shop at Walmart in the short term, because junk foods and foods with ingredients that are questionable, if not completely toxic, are still permitted by the FDA, and thus infiltrate our food supply. Walmart doesn’t ban any of the foods on Whole Foods’ blacklist. Just high fructose corn syrup alone is in 14% of the foods the store lists on their website of over 19,900 food products available on average to the consumer.
The Food Marketing Institute estimates that the average supermarket stocks around 42,000 items. Many of the foods that Walmart sells, like soft drinks or junk food, are unsurprisingly full of Whole Foods’ ‘unacceptable ingredient’s, but even items like ‘water’ contain ingredients like sucralose, calcium disodium, EDTA, acesulfame potassium, and potassium sorbate that would prohibit their sale at Whole Foods.
Even Walmart’s “Great Value 100% Whole Wheat Bread” contains seven questionable ingredients: high fructose corn syrup, sodium stearoyl lactylate, ethoxylated diglycerides, DATEM, azodicarbonamide, ammonium chloride, and calcium propionate.
If you were to roll your shopping cart through a Walmart store that had eliminated all the foods it currently stocks which Whole Foods does not, you would go home hungry. The shelves would practically be empty.
Walmart says their policy is to let consumers decide:
“We serve more than 140 million customers per week in the United States and we believe in giving our customers a wide assortment of groceries so they can decide what is the best choice for their family.”
This means 140 million people have been duped into believing that if they save a little cash now by purchasing processed, nutrition-less junk, they can feed their families. They have bought into the lies that the FDA and food companies tell the world about our food supply. These institutions do not promote your health. While people consume mercury, MSG, proven to cause headaches and nausea in one dose (as well as obesity), high fructose corn syrup, which accounts for high-calorie, low nutrition foods, and other preservatives which cause infertility, the food companies (and some grocery stores) are laughing all the way to the bank.
Aside from all this, Walmart has been fined repeatedly for dumping toxins in our lakes and waterways to keep their prices so low; even the sick and dying can shop there. America, wake up. Ditch the death-dealing grocery chains and find better food. It may cost you a little more now, but your life is worth it, right? You can even eat organic on a budget.
Whole Foods is also not the only option. Don’t shop for food where you buy your toilet paper. There are other health-minded grocery stores, farmers markets, and even low-cost co-operative that sell healthful food that can feed your family. Organic Consumers provides a list of 341 healthy food stores by city and state. Many organic and healthful food options have been around since the 70s and earlier. We just haven’t heard about them because we are conscientiously trying to save a dollar while feeding our families, and we’ve bought into the idea of ‘convenience.’
Since our legislators won’t listen to us, our government agencies in charge of protecting the food supply are corrupt, and most stores are working based on the ‘free’ market, vote with your dollar. I challenge you to shop at least once this week somewhere besides Walmart, and see how many amazing foods you can make for your family to enjoy.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.