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Modern-day lifestyle has not only led to busy schedules for young adults but has also contributed immensely to some of the serious health complications. Apart from not having enough time to meet friends personally, today's lifestyle has also forced many of you to indulge in processed or packaged foods on a daily basis. Earlier this year, in a report, the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that ultra-processed foods now account for 25 60 per cent of an individual's daily energy intake worldwide.
What exactly are processed foods, why are they so bad for our health and how can we replace them in our diet? Processed or packaged foods are those that are being prepared by altering the preparation process so that the foods can have a longer shelf-life, and it becomes more convenient for someone to consume it. However, there are two different categories in which processed foods are being divided minimally processed and heavily processed. A pack full of salad that is in a frozen condition can be called minimally packaged or processed food. On the other hand, a box of macaroni and cheese or a microwavable dinner can be considered a heavily packaged food. But are these foods healthy? What nutrition do you get from these packaged foods? Let's understand the A-Z about packaged foods.
Who informs you about what is healthy and what is not? Health organizations, right? But what if we say that you are being misinformed? In a recent report, the dark side of the food industry has come to light. The report says that the people whom we are dependent on for all the information about healthy eating have been endorsing packaged foods and promoting them for consumption. The world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), is regarded as the umbrella group that helps in designing the curricula for the schools that credential dieticians.
However, a 2013 report by Michele Simon, a public health lawyer, revealed the darker side of the organization. In its statement, Simon highlighted "the food industry's deep infiltration" of AND. Simon's report revealed that the organization's corporate sponsors are a veritable who's who of Big Food: Coca-Cola, the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition, the National Dairy Council, General Mills, Kellogg's, PepsiCo, and Unilever. His reports further said that McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and other big-name food industry leaders spend a lot of funds to get space at the AND's annual expo to set up their booths, where they actually promote the supposed health benefits of their products. "These corporations understand that dieticians are educating the public, so getting the dieticians' organization to endorse industrial food products is a major boon to business," Simon quoted as saying.
So, why these foods are so dangerous for your health? Why should one avoid eating packaged or processed foods that are being promoted extensively today? We tell you in this article. Keep reading!
As you all already know, packaged foods are actually harmful for overall health. Now, the question is, what all harm can it cause? "Packaged foods can lead to some of the worst diseases and conditions. A recent study of over 100,000 people has stated that every 10 per cent increase in consumption of ultra-processed food aka packaged foods was found to be associated with a 12 per cent higher risk for cancer," Dietician Snighdha Chowdhury told TheHealthSite,com. Scary isn't it? Let's dive deep into this and understand why you should stop eating processed or packaged foods.
"Heavily processed foods often include unhealthy levels of added sugar, sodium and fat. These ingredients make the food we eat taste better, but too much of them can lead to serious health issues like obesity, heart diseases and diabetes," Priyanka Agarwal, Clinical Nutritionist, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali and Max Multi Speciality Centre, Noida told TheHealthSite.com. She further added, "The high sodium and salt content in packaged foods such as chips, processed meats and biscuits can cause serious complications to your health. These products are very harmful to people suffering from high blood pressure, kidney diseases."
Packaged foods are the storehouse for all the unhealthy fats, sodium, and sugar, which are the biggest enemies of your health. The presence of these ingredients in the foods that you are consuming can make the food tasty but, at the same time, it can lead to serious health issues like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
All those who are dependent on processed or packaged foods should know that these foods that you are consuming are not giving any kinds of nutrition that your body requires to perform daily activities.
Listen to this carefully, if you are someone who is trying to shed weight or get into shape, and still relying on processed or packaged foods, then you must stop doing it. Why so? These foods are not only full of unhealthy fats, but are also super-rich in calories, which you definitely want to ignore when trying to live healthy and clean.
Apart from all the hidden dangers that these foods can cause, one of the worst things is that these foods contain artificial flavours and ingredients, which can wreck havoc on your overall health. For all those who eat processed or packaged foods on a daily basis, beware these foods contain a high amount of preservatives and sweeteners, which are the main culprits behind heart diseases and a rise in blood sugar levels.
Packaged foods are a major cause of obesity primarily due to their high sugar content. Be it packaged juice or cereal, packaged foods are only marketed as sugar-free, low-calorie foods. These foods have corn syrup, genetically modified plant matter and glucose that further raises the sugar levels.
"Most packaged foods contain high levels of refined carbohydrates. Simple carbs as compared to complex carbs are not good for us because they are broken down quickly in the digestive tract and cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. This means that you might have carb cravings shortly after your blood sugar levels go down," Nutritionist Priyanka Agarwal told TheHealthSite.com
Indulge in more fresh foods and a balanced diet. So, what exactly is a balanced meal? According to Nutritionist Priyanka Agarwal, an individual's plate should contain the right quantities of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and sugar. Packaged foods do not contain these nutrients in the right amounts and are sometimes devoid of any nutrients at all. So in spite of eating packaged foods, try to have traditional thalis and fruits which are easily available.
"Packed foods are rich chemicals which are approved by the health officials, but when they are being consumed regularly, they can lead to long-term serious health effects," Agarwal told TheHealthSite. She further added, "Many of these chemicals are hormone disruptions such as BPA, which is found in the lining of cans, phthalates in plastic food wrap, and PFASs used in grease-proof wrappers that can leach into food and enter people's bodies.
So, next time before purchasing any packaged food read the nutritional level of every packed item.