Different reports suggest that popular foods have been found to either be carcinogenic or to contain chemicals and additives that can be harmful to our bodies. With all the harmful things to look out for, the secret may be in moderation for even a good thing can be destructive if taken in excess.
Additives in juice
Converting a fruit into liquid requires a lot of processing. Along the way, the once-healthy fruit gets ripped of its nutrients through pasterurisation and purification. Thereafter, a large amount of artificial sweeteners such as sugar, corn syrup are added to the juice.
These amounts of sugar are too much for one to consume in one go no matter the type of beverage. A research in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows increasing intake of sugar-sweetened soda is independently associated with increasing risk of gout.
Blending also releases the sugars and tears apart the insoluble fibre that the fruit once had. Fibre is meant to slow down absorption of fructose which would otherwise affect the proper functioning of the liver. It is healthier to eat the fruit itself other than drinking the fruit juice and other beverages because the fibre contained in them makes one feel satisfied for a longer time.
The debate about red meat is still ongoing. It is said to contain high levels of saturated fats that raise blood cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
A study done by Harvard University reveals that eating unprocessed meat is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and those who eat more than 110g of unprocessed meat a day are 20 per cent higher at risk of diabetes. Those who eat a serving of processed meat, the risk of type 2 diabetes grow 50 per cent higher.
Also, in 2018, it was found out that some butchers use formaldehyde, a chemical used to preserve bodies, to preserve beef so it looks fresh all the time. Do not eat too much, since eating more calories than you burn makes you gain weight.
Experts have always warned people to limit their sodium intake and reduce their risk of serious diseases. Dr Norm Campbell, former President of the World Hypertension League wrote in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension, “Unhealthy diets are a leading cause of death globally and excess salt consumption is the biggest culprit, estimated to cause over three million deaths globally in 2017.”
Campbell says, “The World Health Organisation established a target for countries to reduce sodium intake by 30 per cent by 2025, and governments and the food industry have been working together to reduce salt in processed foods.”
A low salt diet leads to an increase in life expectancy since it reduces the risk of hypertension by 30 per cent and the benefit of medication is doubled when daily salt intake is reduced by 4.6g, he says.
White or brown bread
White bread has no fibre so a person does not feel full after eating it, hence craving more food soon after eating. This can lead to weight gain and a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and other lifestyle-related chronic conditions.
It is recommended to avoid bread with corn syrup or any ingredient ending in “-ose” listed at the beginning of the ingredient list. Ingredient lists are ordered by their weight, so those near the top are present in relatively high proportions.
Sukumawiki and other vegetables are excellent health foods but the use of pesticides has adverse effects due to chemical residues.
A research by the universities of Nairobi and Sweden, published in the East African Medical Journal, shows Nairobi residents are eating highly contaminated sukumawiki, the product of poor quality water and unhygienic handling and transportation to the market. Therefore, choose vegetables grown by small-scale farmers who may not be using pesticides on their vegetable farms.
This story was first published in Daily Nation