12 Secrets the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know
Walking past the stockedshelves of your local supermarket, you may be tempted to add everything to your cart. With so many ‘fat-free’ and ‘healthy’ option available, who wouldn’t be allured by the food variety?But do not fall for that bait because that is one rabbit hole not everyone wishes to go down. The food industry can easily warp your perception towards an item through its cleverly designed marketing tactics.
Keep the following 12 heavily guarded secrets of the food industry in mind before your next grocery trip:
1) Breakfast Cereals Are Not That Healthy…
You probably know this because of the concerning amounts of sugar added to breakfast cereals but otherwise too breakfast cereal is not as healthy as it appears to be. Extrusion is a process used in the manufacturing of breakfast cereals. In a machine called the extruder, grains are forced through a tiny hole at high pressure and temperature and this basically gives shape to the cereal. Using this high pressure and temperature causes the grains to lose all its nutritional values. All the naturally occurring fatty acids present in the grains are denatured thanks to extrusion. Hence, you would see most breakfast cereals with ‘added’ vitamins and minerals. Not just that, researchers have found that cornflakes have the capacity to increase blood glucose sugar level faster than even direct consumption of table sugar. Therefore, diabetes should definitely avoid such breakfast meals at all costs.
2) … And Neither Are Crackers
Crackers are thought to be a healthier eating option but surprisingly, crackers are as bad for your health as a bag of potato chips. Crackers are made of refined all-purpose flour and the other core ingredients include salt, sugar, and fat. To increase their shelf-life, a host of preservatives are added to these crackers. The only healthy option that is available is Triscuits since the original recipe contains only three main ingredients: whole-grain wheat, salt, and oil. Most other crackers are equivalent to a treat and 99% of them do not contain whole wheat.
3) You Will See Red On Reading This
Most of the red food coloring that you see in foods is derived from crushed insects. A good indicator of the possibility of having these bugs is if you see Cochineal extract or Carmine extract mentioned in the ingredients. Interestingly, they are considered safe for consumption and trigger allergies only to a select few. The other alternatives to these bugs are petroleum-derived synthetic colors. Red #40 and #3 are synthetic food coloring substances that could potentially be carcinogens. Makes you prefer the bugs instead, doesn’t it?
4) Some More Tit-bits on Food Colors
Studies have found that artificial food coloring and certain food preservatives can cause increased hyperactivity and other behavioral issues in young kids. Sodium benzoate, the food preservative having strong links with increased hyperactivity, is found in some pickles, jellies, and diet sodas. The food colors Yellow #5 and #6, and Red #40 are the culprits behind this effect.
5) High in Fiber Is a Lie
Many products are marked as ‘rich in fiber’ but are actually containing high quantities of non-nutritional fiber. These fibers are not as useful to the body as naturally occurring fibers as contained in fresh vegetables and whole grains. In fact, they may cause stomach and intestinal problems like bloating and gas. So your best bet in getting good fibers into your system would be through vegetables and whole grains.
6) Sugar Is a Poison By Many Names
It is a proven fact that the consuming too much sugar will definitely result in health issues in some form or the other. In fact, it is believed that the sugar industry was the driving force behind demonizing fat, including healthy fats. So something that is marked as ‘low fat’ doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy, especially if it contains added sugars. Surprisingly, the food industry masks sugar under various names so that it does not show the sugary content to be present in large quantities. These names could be Corn Syrup, Dextrose, High-Fructose, Agave Nectar, Fruit Juice Concentrate, Evaporated Cane Juice, and Cane Crystals. Check the ingredients mentioned on the packaging to find out how the food industry could be tricking you into consuming more sugar than you thought you are.
7) Low-fat, Popped, or Baked Chips are Not a Healthier Alternative
Apart from the extrusion process mentioned before that takes place in ‘popping’ grain, baked and low-fat options of chips are not as healthy as they seem. These foods could simply be an accumulated result of highly refined grains or potato flakes, and different flavoring. Interestingly, it would be healthier to eat chips made of real potatoes and fried in healthful oil.
8) Bottled Tea Hoax
We know that tea contains several health benefits but bottled tea lacks most of these amazing qualities. Some beverage manufacturers do not even contain the minimum required concentrations of minerals like catechins, but falsely claim that their drinks are full of antioxidants. The best way to enjoy the real benefits of tea would be freshly brewing tea and consuming it directly instead of purchasing bottled products.
9) Lean Cut Meat has High Sodium Content
Lean cut meats can become dried out, less juicy, and ultimately, may not appear to be as appealing. Thus, manufacturers pump them with saline solution. This saline solution also works well as a preservative. In the process of extending the shelf life of the food and making the food attractive, the meat ends up having unhealthy levels of sodium. These meats with enhanced sodium content could singularly fulfill more than even one-third of your recommended daily consumption of sodium. High sodium can adversely affect your cardiovascular and renal systems leading to high blood pressure and kidney failures.
10) Fats and Oils
If you thought that butter is bad for your health and purchasing margarine or shortening is better, you may wish to rethink that decision. Crude vegetable oil, which is normally dark, smelly, and sticky, undergoes innumerable processes that results in shortening, margarine, and spreads. These processes include bleaching, degumming, filtering, steam cleaning, and deodorizing. Once it passes through all these steps, the end product has little to none nutrients or antioxidants. However, the pesticides and the solvents added to the oil sustain through these procedures. Even when you are cooking with margarine or shortening, you may have noticed that on slight heating, it emits a peculiar smell and turns dark soon, which in itself shows how unhealthy it is. If you are purchasing extra-virgin olive oil, you may want to check if the oil is stored in dark glass or tin containers since that is a sign of proper storage of extra-virgin olive oil. If the packaging contains the harvest date, it is a sure-shot sign of a dependable product. Olive oils other than these packaging either turn rancid or simply are poor grade oils.
11) The Milk and Dairy Products are Not so Innocent Either
The dairy industry subjects the cows to horrendous conditions, which is a fact known by most people. Merciless living conditions, poor diets, and externally administered hormones are all for the sole purpose of greed: increased milk production resulting in higher profits. Milk concentrates are added to increase the quantity of milk. Even something as healthy as Greek Yogurt could be tainted with add-ins like whey protein concentrates or milk protein concentrates. Products that are marketed as ‘cheese’ do not even qualify as traditional and real cheese. To make the process easier and more profitable, manufacturers replace milk with processed milk protein concentrates or whey protein concentrates, which cuts down the cost of production. This substitution would technically make it cheese products prepared through pasteurization rather than actual cheese. Similarly, ice creams cannot be called ‘ice creams’ until they contain minimum 10% milk fat. Due to this, most items that you may presume to be ice creams are labeled as ‘frozen dairy desert.’
12) Long Lines Affect Your Wallets
In an interesting study, it was found that a person is more likely to purchase more products while waiting in queue. Also, while you are waiting, it is more likely that you will purchase something unhealthy like candies instead of any staples. This is because of the placement of the items near the checkout counters. The longer you are exposed to tempting products like candies and sodas, which are placed near the billing counters, it is more likely that you will give in and take one off the shelf and drop it in your cart.