04 September, 2008

The Truth About Health Foods

Next time you sift the supermarket for ‘100% natural’ or ‘preservative free’ foods, be on a high alert. A recent study conducted by Sense About Science, a charitable trust dedicated to public awareness has unraveled that most claims laid by ‘health food’ brands are a hoax and that they use these strategies only to boost up their sales.

Also, the common notion that naturally derived substances are less harmful than the synthetically produced ones has no truth in it. Many chemicals that are used in processed food are also found in fresh, organic food so the intake pretty much remains the same. Many food products bear flashy labels like ‘enriched with vitamin so-and-so’ and ‘fortified’. Although the label may be true, there is no evidence that an extra dose of nutrients would do us any more good. The human body is programmed to derive all the nutrition it needs from the food we ingest. Anything extra is just going to be disposed off by our kidneys because unlike carbohydrates, fats and proteins, vitamins cannot be stored in the body. Rather, the body needs a measured and constant supply of these nutrients.

Consumers today are growing increasingly health conscious owing to the epidemic of life-style diseases and do not hesitate to spend an extra buck or two for a ‘healthier version’ of food. Most companies make use of the consumer’s vulnerability and lure the layman by laying a ’scientific trap’. An unknowing customer is easily drawn to a food packet which has elaborate nutritional details and data printed on it. The fact however is, that these food products are as good or as bad as any other.

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