Colorful and flavorful may not be healthy; processed foods can cause long-term damage

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Colorful and flavorful may not be healthy; processed foods can cause long-term damage

Beware of hidden additives in foods and check nutrition labels

New Delhi, 07 October 2018: While food is meant to nourish our bodies, today, it is one of the primary reasons for disease and disability. Modern foods are highly processed and stripped of their nutrients. Reading food labels carefully and being vigilant about the quality of the processed foods is extremely essential. What is even more necessary is to inculcate healthy eating practices right from childhood.

Various chemicals are added to packed and processed food to enhance flavor and increasing their shelf life. Most people consume these without realizing and succumb to several diseases later in life. Unhealthy eating is perhaps one of the topmost risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) today.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The fact that children love brightly colored and flavored foods makes them an easy target. Most baked goods have these colors and artificial sweeteners added to enhance their appeal. For instance, blue color can cause cancer while Red #40 can lead to ADHD. Other color variants can even cause cancer in the long term. Aspartame is a neurotoxin (affects the brain) and carcinogen (has the potential to cause cancer). Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is another common culprit. Headaches, flushing, sweating, fluttering heartbeats, chest pain, nausea and weakness are all common reactions often known as the MSG symptom complex.”

Research indicates that there has been a spurt in the number of people with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in India. The reasons attributed to this surge are usage of too many preservatives, additives, highly processed foods, and mineral water. Processed foods can alter the gut biome and eventually affect the immune system.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The gut micro biome is the cause and cure of gut diseases. To avoid IBD, people must opt for natural organic foods which are a healthier choice. This will also help in avoiding complications in the intestine. Making better food choices will ensure that the gut has a combination of different good bacteria which help the body systems function smoothly.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Eat less and enjoy your food by eating slowly
  • Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoid oversized portions which can cause weight gain.
  • At least half of your grains should be whole grains.
  • Limit consumption of food high in trans fats and sugar.
  • Choose healthy fats. Use fat–free or low fat milk and/or dairy products.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Avoid foods that have high sodium levels such as snacks, processed foods.
  • Above all, balance your food choices with your activity level.