We are what we eat

The debate isn’t new. What we put into our daily meals is what we will become in the long term.

The better we eat the better our health will be in the future. Eating better is mostly a question of education and information, of asking questions and reading labels to make healthy choices. And the ability to make right choices starts in the supermarket.

The World Health Organization explains why most people aren’t eating a healthy and balanced diet:

Increasing production of more and more processed food, rapid urbanization, and changing lifestyles are transforming dietary patterns. Highly processed foods are increasing in availability and becoming more affordable. People around the world are consuming more energy-dense foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, sugars, and salt. (…) people are consuming less fruit vegetables and dietary fiber (such as whole grains), that are key components of a healthy diet.

Most food products available for children have high amounts of sugar and salt that parents aren’t aware of. According to the World Health Organization, “most people consume too much salt—on average 9–12 grams per day, or around twice the recommended maximum level of intake.” And they also consume too much sugar, that is why the WHO strongly recommends people to reduce their intake of free sugars from 10 to 5% of the total daily energy intake. Free sugars are defined as “(…) monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.”

The amounts of sugar and salt present in our daily food intakes can sometimes be a deadly weapon and are responsible for diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity. And these diseases can occur in children and teenagers, not only in adults.

The high costs of treating such diseases increase every decade but sadly the investment in prevention doesn’t. Prevention is important to bring awareness to health issues and to educate consumers about their food choices. The more educated consumers are, the higher the chance they will go for a healthy diet with a focus on fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits and grains. The Mediterranean diet is a good barometer for a healthy diet, as it focuses on the balance between whole grains and fresh vegetables and low red meat consumption.



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