Over information and the large diversity of information sources on nutrition has made more difficult to know in fact what we eat. For clarification, here are some guidelines:
First of all, it is necessary to evaluate food characteristics and the food group to which they belong: grains, cereals, animal or vegetable origin proteins, fruits or vegetables. Then, it will be necessary to determine each food’s benefits and the possible damages. As well, it is important to keep in mind that a single foodstuff does not provide all the nutrients that the body needs and that guidelines for healthy diet can vary from one person to other.
Here is a small list of those products that presented as ‘healthy’ in the market, but whose regular consumption may not be so beneficial for health.
1. Packaged juices
The name is already a hoax. To be considered as juice, a drink must have at least an 80% of natural fruit content. Usually, what is found in the market are actually fruit-tasted soft drinks or with a small amount of fruit, belonging consequently to the same group as sodas and other processed beverages. These products have a high content of simple sugars, colorings and a very small percentage of fruit, many times below a 20%.
2. Box cereals
Among others, rice, wheat and oats constitute very healthy cereals due to their complex carbohydrates and fiber contribution. As it is known, fiber promotes an adequate intestinal transit and helps to the slow release of the energy provided by carbohydrates. However, box cereals are heavily processed, losing many of their initial benefits. As well, high amounts of sugars and colorings are added to many of them.
Jelly is another food that children especially consume and whose advertising is almost always focused on them. The fact of being prepared adding only water and served to some patients in hospitals because it is easily digested does not mean that it is healthy product. Jelly has colorings and sugar but not a significant amount of minerals, fiber or vitamins.
4. Light products
Light products generate a lot of confusion and unrealistic expectations among consumers. A light product does not help to lose weight. Light also does not mean zero calories. What the word light means is that the product has a reduction of calories comparing to the same unmodified food of the same brand.
How to choose a healthy food?
The most important thing to make an informed decision is to read labels and nutritional tables. The most suitable thing is to go directly to the list of ingredients, which are organized from major to minor according to the quantity of each element, that is, if sugar is the first in the list, this means that it is the predominant ingredient in the product.
Another factor to consider is to know the level in which a foodstuff has been processed. To find this information it is enough to check if there are many strange names among the ingredients.
In short, always natural products are preferable, consuming packaged and prepared products just occasionally