Are Health Foods Really Healthy?

Posted by Trupti Shirole on Tue, Mar 8, 2011  
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These days the markets are flooded with a variety of ‘health foods’. When you go out shopping to some mall you are bound to find the shelves packed with a variety of food items labeled as- ‘cholesterol free’, ‘fiber rich’, ‘sugar free’ or ‘low calorie’. Majority of these food items are made from ingredients which are otherwise thought to be unhealthy. This category of health foods includes a variety of items ranging from cheese balls, wafers, biscuits etc. but then the real question is are these foods really healthy?


I feel if these foods were really healthy then why the World Health Organization (WHO) has not included these so called ‘health foods’ in their recommended daily dietary intake. May be this would be an extreme statement. So if we look at this whole issue from a different perspective then we will notice that European companies manufacturing such food items have made huge profits in the past 20-years. But still today we will find that the number of obese people in these countries has not decreased, it has only increased with time. This same thing is happening everywhere. The reason behind this being ‘consumer psychology’. It has been observed that generally people tend to buy foodstuffs which have been labeled as ‘healthy’.


Eventually people end up eating these foods in larger quantities, thus increasing their total calorie intake. Therefore instead of helping to reduce weight, it only adds up to the already existing problem of obesity. Take this simple example into consideration- if a health conscious person is offered some French fires and a baked potato snack, that person will obviously opt for the baked potato snack. Since they would consider it to be healthy, they would eat that to their heart’s content. However if no option was given then the person would probably eat few fries. What happens ultimately is that you end up consuming more calories.


This does not mean that manufacturers of health foods are fooling us. It is we who do not read the instructions carefully and eat wisely. We need to be careful with the portion sizes. When a packet says ‘makes two servings’, it should be consumed in that manner. Otherwise you will just pile up extra calories. At the end, it is important to remember that anything in excess is always unhealthy.


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