Decoding the nutritional benefits of the 'healthy' products in your grocery cart

Today we ponder whether the healthy products that we opted for, are actually healthy or not

Decoding the nutritional benefits of the healthy products in your grocery cart

We are all very familiar with the adage 'health is wealth'. More so now after the 2 dreadful years we spent with the looming threat of COVID-19 and stocking up on our fair share of zinc and vitamin C. Then came the barrage of healthy meals and recipes to give our immune system the much needed boost and let's just say, not many of us have gotten off the super-healthy bandwagon yet.

However, with the situation slowly reversing back to normal and all of us getting caught up simply trying to pick up where we left off, health and nutrition naturally took the backseat once again. And if it didn't lose its position in our list of priorities, we certainly found other ways to compensate for our daily dose of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. A fruit platter turned into a protein bar on-the-go or a healthy homemade breakfast switched to a bowl of cereal. While, at first glance, the ingredients label may reflect the wholesomeness of the edible, today we try and understand whether these choices really are in the direction of well-being.

In an attempt to reduce consumption of sugar, be it due to dietary restrictions or simply because it is a healthy choice, stevia did rise to be a popular alternative among the population, post 2015 when the production, usage and sales of the sweetener was no longer barred. However, stevia, being significantly sweeter than normal sugar, is the go- to choice for many food items and beverages. While a number of studies have been conducted to portray the benefits and advantages of stevia, these reports prove to be inconclusive when talking about long term effects.
Keeping in mind the advantages of the product outweigh the cons, it is understandable why it is the go-to choice. However one must also realise that just because it is the better alternative, one must still exercise caution and moderation while purchasing or consuming it.

Long gone are the days where freshly steamed idlis or the ghee-fried aloo parathas would be waiting for us at the table. Today having a feast for breakfast seems like a standard that is simply impossible to achieve, especially for those who live away from home. So if one option is out the window, certainly an alternative needs to take its place. Enter the multitude of cereal brands in the market. Despite their claims of introducing the goodness of multi-grain to your diet the easy way, it's best to do your own research beforehand . These products are subjected to many levels of processing which naturally strip the healthy ingredients off of a significant amount of nutritional value. Add to the mix artificial flavouring and sweeteners and we are just back to square one.
Cereals may prove to be the easy-way-out, but they hold very little nutritional value. If a proper breakfast seems a little out of hand, a fruit-platter will most definitely prove to be more beneficial.

Plant-based meats

With veganism taking the internet (and the world, of course) by storm as the most followed food trend, plant-based meat alternatives have also equally risen to the top, in terms of popularity and in-turn sales. And while they are far more eco-friendly and sustainable than their actual-meat counterparts, you cannot simply ignore the fact that these products too are subject to advanced levels of processing. Relying heavily on modern science and technology these products were engineered to suit the trend, rather than found organically. Furthermore, these eatables make use of artificial flavouring and high levels of sodium and unhealthy fats, effectively and significantly dropping the nutritional value of the product.

Protein bars

And finally, the products that one can find at the grocery store, right before you head to the billing counter. Protein bars are a popular go-to snack owing to all the nuts and grains their ingredient label incorporates. But it is easy to be fooled by this gimmick. Along with the dried fruits and oatmeal and protein abundant peanut butter also come a range of binding agents, artificial flavouring and sweeteners that simply cancel out the nutritional value of the bar, if not outweigh it altogether. Then there are ingredients like whey protein isolates or soy protein isolates, which on a superficial level communicate the presence of protein, but in reality are also subjected to a certain level of processing and refinement, further dropping the nutritious value of the overall product.

Before you descend to the point of being sceptical of everything, I'd like to clarify, not all food items that line the shelves of a supermarket are necessarily unhealthy. Upon proper research and a closer look at the product details, you too can make informed and healthy purchases. To follow a healthy diet, it is important to first figure out your own dietary requirements. Follow this up with research from credible sources or a nutritionist and soon you'll be on your way to leading a happy and nutritionally well-balanced life.

This article provides general information and discussions about health, nutrition and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.healt

Natasha Kittur

Natasha Kittur

Natasha Kittur is an aspiring writer. Her love for anything with cheese and spice is profound, but a white sauce pasta always tops her list. In her free time you will catch her reading or watching crime books and shows or go on and on about psychological experiments and theories. She aims to write a book in the fictional genre someday.

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