Know your Ingredients

Hello Everyone,

Wishing one and all a happy and healthy new year 2019! This year instead of making resolutions,which I find difficult to follow, I am going to be more kind to myself and just have simple health goals .

  1. Consume more veggies
  2. Less packaged food and more natural food

I believe, the more simple and less demanding your goals are, the easier they are to achieve. So, when it comes to eating more natural food’s, a very important step is to read your nutrition labels, for any packaged food you pick up from your grocery store.

It is so convenient to pick up packaged food, specially when you have a busy schedule to follow. However, do we take the time to read the nutrition labels mentioned behind? If we are consuming something, shouldn’t we take out some time to read about the ingredients listed on the package?

It’s ironic that we spend hours taking care of our external self, spending on clothes, make up , grooming, at the same time being very casual about the food we consume, and eat anything as long as it is packaged well! I am guilty of doing this myself, and hence have very recently started reading the labels on my food.

So, is all packaged food bad? Not necessary. Although, any food that has a shelve life of a year most probably contains preservatives and trans fat.

If you have a look, you won’t be able to even pronounce most of the ingredients listed, and there are sometimes so many ingredients, with such long names that I wonder what am I actually eating?!

So, I am putting down some things to watch out for, in your ingredient list which will hopefully help you all make better food choices

Added Sugars 

Most packaged food contain sugar and there are different names for it. Most commonly used names are below

Different names for Sugar

It’s important to know how much sugar your consuming per 100 g. If its about 5 to 10 g it’s fine but if its about 50 or more per 100 g then that’s quite a lot of sugar. Most biscuits,cookies and sauces have a lot of sugar. It’s not that you can’t consume it, its about being aware and knowing that you are consuming that much sugar.

Many people avoid sugar in tea, coffee but eat a lot of packaged food with sugar. They are not even aware of all the sugar’s added in packaged food.

Trans Fat        

Nutritional label with focus on fats.

Artificial trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Trans fats are easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time. Trans fats give foods a desirable taste and texture. It can be found in many foods – including fried foods like doughnuts, and baked goods including cakes, pie crusts, biscuits, frozen pizza, cookies, crackers, and stick margarine’s and other spreads.Your oil or ghee may also contain trans-fat so read your labels before you purchase them

Other names for trans-fat are Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil.  Research has shown that Trans-fat increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and also increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. So it’s a complete NO NO and best to be avoided.

MSG – Monosodium glutamate

MSG which is such a flavour enhancer. Monosodium Glutamic Acid (MSG) refers to a chemical process in which glutamic acid is isolated, and then, bound to a sodium molecule and purified into a white powder that is added to foods as a flavor enhancer. Concentrated free glutamic acid or MSG act as nerve stimulants and will change how the taste buds taste food. A bad tasting food will taste fantastic when high levels of glutamic acid are introduced as a flavor enhancer. So you tend to eat more of foods containing MSG, much more than what you would normally eat

Some other names for MSG: Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Textured Vegetable Protein & Yeast Extract.Research studies show that MSG has neurotoxic effects resulting in brain cell damage, retinal degeneration and endocrine disorder. When dining at a Chinese restaurant, Please specify NO MSG.

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Some other things to look out for is  the word artificial. Artificial flavors or colors may promote hyperactivity in children and can cause allergic reactions

 Sodium nitrate  an added preservative in processed meat which is harmful and is been linked to cancer. It’s important that we read about any preservative, labels or names we do not know in your food.

So then what do we eat?

  • Look for labels which say 100 percent natural , No preservatives, No added sugar & Organic. Although most of the times they just add labels for marketing so be aware and Always, Always read the ingredients listed on the packet.
  • Always opt for packed food with lesser preservatives and fewer ingredients
  • Avoid chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors.
  • Avoid sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and trans fats (anything hydrogenated)

Wishing you all a healthy start to 2019!

Love and gratitude always

Mildred

References – If you need more information you can read the links below

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/90ac/e6597576710831083accc4e10a4a26f91e88.pdf

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/trans-fat

http://www.jlr.org/content/early/2011/07/27/jlr.M014738.abstract

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