Few months back, I had an individual come to me for consultation. While, I was going through his lifestyle and diet recall, I realised that he was largely surviving on packed foods as he stayed in a hostel. On asking why is he does not eat in the hostel mess, he replied, the food which is served in the mess is not tasty and secondly, due to his work there are time constraints to keep up with the mess timings. Packed foods are easy foods- easy to make and handy too. They are delicious with lots of varieties, he added. I had a tough time counselling him that packed foods are not a good idea on a daily basis. But, finally he did get convinced and agreed on cutting down on these packed foods.
There are some people who are completely helpless and so they end up eating packed foods. But, there are also some people who incorporate the packed foods in their daily routine just because they are too lazy to cook a fresh meal. They feel why should you waste time and energy when it is easily available and delicious. I really wonder do they really know what these foods are. Or some eat it because they find it healthy.
For instance, Masala oats, I came across many people who know that oats are good for health and so they include it in their daily routine for breakfast. They are misconceived by the advertisements which claim these foods to be super healthy enriched with multivitamins!! Also, another instance is Maggi, a snack which is loved by majority of the kids. It’s eyewash that Maggi is enriched with calcium! The fact is, it is made out of refined carbs (Maida) which is definitely a big no no! I would suggest, moderation is a key for every little thing. So, if there is any craving for Maggi, you can add lot of veggies to it and control the portion. That makes it comparatively healthier than plain Maggi.
So why should you avoid packed foods? I shall brief you on what exactly these comfort foods/packed foods/ready to eat foods are. These are nothing but processed foods. What all items come under processed foods? It can range from biscuits to instant mix cakes, to fruit juices! The disadvantages are:
- Most processed foods are coloured with synthetic or additional colouring agents. Based on the idea that we “eat with our eyes”, many food manufactures choose to enhance a colour, even if the initial food is not as colourful.
- Also, they are high on trans-fat which increases LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol, associated with heart diseases) and lowers HDL cholesterol in the body.
- Daily munching of processed foods promotes aging and kidney damage as they contain phosphates and genetically engineered ingredients.
- Also, they are high on preservatives (sodium), so hypertensive has to be really cautious.
It is very important to check the nutritional label before buying any product. Also, opt for it only during emergency and don’t make it a habit of consuming it on daily basis. Try to go for natural products which will keep you fit and healthy.
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