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When is an Apple Pie not an Apple Pie?

Modern food processing has changed traditional food, sometimes beyond all recognition. Let us take a humble apple pie as an example.

You would expect a homemade apple pie to contain pastry (made with wheat flour and butter or lard), apples and sugar, and perhaps a spice such as cinnamon. Let’s say that a basic apple pie would contain about 5 ingredients.

Now let’s look at the ingredients in a popular, commercially made apple pie: Wheat Flour (with added Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin), Sugar, Vegetable Oils (Palm, Rapeseed), Diced Bramley Apple, Bramley Apple Purée, Glucose Syrup, Dextrose, Humectant (Vegetable Glycerine), Modified Maize Starch, Salt, Acid (Malic Acid), Flavouring, Raising Agents (Disodium Diphosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Metabisulphite (Sulphites), Sulphur Dioxide), Milk Protein, Whey Powder (Milk).


There are 20 ingredients in this processed apple pie including three different forms of sugar (sugar, dextrose and glucose syrup), and three chemical preservatives (potassium sorbate, sodium metabisulphite and sulphur dioxide). It might not look all that different from a homemade pie, but this little pie is packed with industrially produced chemicals.

The homemade apple pie takes time and commitment to make, whereas you only have to open a packet to enjoy the commercial pie. No arguments on this point. The question is, is the convenience worth it? Your answer to this question underpins your decision about whether or not you want to eat a cleaner, healthier diet.

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At The Green Apple Club we would choose the homemade pie. We would bake it with a natural sugar such as maple syrup and replace the refined white flour with a less refined wholewheat flour. But if it’s convenience you’re after, making your own pie with pre-made pastry and your own apple filling would still be a better, more informed choice, bypassing the added ‘extras’ of the commercial pie.

Your diet doesn’t have to be based on an ‘all or nothing’ principle, full of completely unprocessed or completely processed food. A healthy, balanced diet is about moderation, and making better choices, more often.

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