Columnists Features

What foods are customers being subjected to? Part III

IN the last two articles, I shared information on chemicals added to certain foods that are unhealthy. I also shared some aspects of an article by New York nutritionist Vivian Goldschmidt in which she identified Dangerous and Hidden Food Ingredients In Seemingly Healthy Foods.  
I will continue with the same topic today and conclude next week.  In the last two articles, I shared some chemicals found in breakfast cereal and some foods taken for lunch.  Today, we take a tour with Ms. Goldschmidt on chemicals found in some foods that we normally take for dinner.
Because of busy lifestyles, working people sometimes do not have time to have a decent meal while they are at work and would therefore love to sit down in the evening and have a sumptuous dinner.
A number of people who are conscious of their weight and are careful about adding on calories are particular about having starch for dinner.  They may therefore choose what they think is a healthier lower fat alternative to beef, such as skinless chicken, fish or veggie burgers. Ms. Goldschmidt takes a look at the ingredients:
Water, textured soy protein concentrate, corn oil, contains two percent or less of autolysed yeast extract, vegetable gum, natural flavours from vegetable sources, maltodextrin, soy fiber, salt, carrageenan, potato starch, onion powder, caramel color and disodium inosinate.ascorbic acid, vinegar powder, citric acid, aspartic acid, modified corn starch, malic acid, succinic acid, tartaric acid, lactic acid, wheat flour and soy lecithin.
Harmful chemicals in the above include textured soy protein concentrate, carrageenan, maltodextrin, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, modified cornstarch. All of these are basically different names to hide ingredients that either contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) or form MSG during processing.
She warns that it is very important for your bone health and your overall health that you avoid these acidifying chemicals that can cause a variety of undesirable side effects, besides accelerate your bone loss. MSG and its related products have been linked to skin rashes, nausea, migraine headaches, heart irregularities, and even seizures.
While beef is acidifying, you can build your dinner around a beef hamburger instead of the chemical meat replacement example above. She recommends you combine it with bone-healthy alkalising vegetables and other alkalising foods to balance your dinner.
If you opt not have meat, the good news is that many grocery stores carry all natural vegetable imitation meat patties – just make sure they don’t contain the aforementioned ingredients.
My worry, however, is that there do not seem to be many shoppers in Zambia who read the ingredients on food items before purchasing. With smart phones in our possession now, surely one can check ingredients on food packets and google the side effects before purchasing.
This should include even the foods that we have probably grown up familiar with and eating.  This may sound cumbersome but it is worth doing.
Goldschmidt points out that it is easy to make the healthy food choices that will bring back or retain your bone density and your general health.
She concludes by stating that we should simply try to eat foods in the most unadulterated “original” format as often as possible.
One tip is to look at the list of ingredients and, any food packaging that has a long list of ingredients with names that sound like they are from a distant planet is not the kind of food you want to eat.
For strong and healthy bones, eat foods with a short and easy to recognise list of ingredients.  If you live in Africa, go for naturally grown or organic foods.

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