We are all increasingly aware that what we eat has a direct effect on our health. But certain food labels can mislead even the healthiest of us.
Well publicised campaigns from celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have brought to the collective consciousness a notion that high-fat and high-sugar diets enjoyed by so many children in the UK can have serious ramifications.
One of the many positive consequences of this increased awareness is that it’s now commonplace for shoppers to check the ingredients labels on products.
These typically include a breakdown of nutritional information, such as the amounts per 100g of protein, carbohydrate, sugar, salt and fats.
But most of us lead busy lives and just can’t find the time to check everything we pick up. Thankfully, many food producers have got wind of the public’s eagerness for healthy foods and have designed low-fat, low-sugar alternatives.
However, looks can be deceptive.
Experts have recently complained that foods marketed as ‘healthy’ because they contain lower levels of one ingredient, sometimes make up for the apparent loss of flavour by increasing amounts of another ingredient deemed bad for health when eaten in large amounts.
For instance, products labelled as “low fat” may have high sugar or salt content.
Excessive amounts of fat, sugar or salt in a diet can lead to a number of health complaints, such as
- high blood pressure
- artery damage
- an enlarged heart
- increased risk of stroke
- kidney failure
One of the side effects of high blood pressure and artery damage is erectile dysfunction. Damage to the arteries of the penis can restrict blood flow, preventing erection and hampering sexual intercourse.
If you are concerned that you might be exhibiting the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, why not put you mind at rest with our free online assessment tool.
So it’s important that consumers have a clear picture of what they eat in order for them to make informed choices about their diet. And that’s official.
The UK’s Local Government Association (LGA) has now stepped into the debate and is urging the European Commission to halt the “misleading” marketing of food products.
Councils, which have recently been put in charge of public health matters, say firms should not be able to make ‘healthy’ claims about their products if their overall nutritional quality is not high.
The LGA fears shoppers are not being given the full picture and is urging the European Commission to provide the public with “robust, scientifically-validated nutrient profiling”.
It warns that obesity and its related issues is fast becoming one of the greatest health issues in society today, making it of the utmost importance that consumers are not mislead when choosing which foods to buy.
Foods to avoid
To help you stay fit and healthy, we have put together a list of foods that you might want to think twice about before putting into your mouth, as well as some alternatives:
Fizzy drinks – High in calories due to the sugar content. Try water to quench your thirst.
Whole milk – Full of saturated fat and calories. Pick up semi-skimmed or even fully-skimmed once in a while. You may find you don’t mind it.
Butter – Packed with calories and fat. Try a low-fat spread or simply use less when cooking.
Cheese – So much saturated fat it’s ridiculous. If you must eat cheese, opt for something mild and low in fat.
Fried food – It seems obvious to say, but fried food is fried in fatty oil. Grilling or baked is by far the healthier option.
Cookies and cakes – Again, these foods are made with large amounts of fat and sugar. It’s why they taste so good. But clever chefs have managed to make some tasty treats with a fraction of the calories.
Don’t be fooled by claims from manufacturers. Make sure to check out the labels on packaging to ensure you know just what you’re eating.
And if you need a bit more help shedding the pounds, visit our weight loss service for advice and prescription treatment.