4 packaged foods that are killing you


Minister's of Penmai
Mar 27, 2014
Packaged foods help in time-management, but experts say they are killing you slowly

Mornings are a rushed affair and to make life easy, you pour a glass of milk over the cereal that you picked from the supermarket. So you think you've had a wholesome meal, right? Not really.

Medical experts say that packaged food — even the cereal that you have been assured is healthy — the quick fix for the on-the-go generation is full of chemicals and, more often than not, 'completely devoid of nutrients'.

While you may argue that you look for the reassuring words on packets — no-trans-fat, no preservatives, no monosodium glutamate (MSG), experts say that these boxes are full of other hidden ingredients that can pose serious health problems if consumed in the long-term.

Killer ingredients
Refined wheat flour, sugar, edible vegetable oil, milk solids, invert syrup, raising agents, salts, emulsifiers, vitamins and dough conditioner
What's hiding?
We already know the toxic effects of refined flour. However, what's scarier are the high levels of edible vegetable oil in these baked cookies, says macrobiotic nutritionist Shonali Sabherwal. "Edible vegetable oil is nothing but fat as its nutrients have been stripped. This loads up the liver, which reacts to fat that cannot be processed in the body, resulting in a fatty liver and slowing down your body," she explains. Besides, invert syrup, a mix of both glucose and fructose creates a sense of being full, and this sugar also make you crave more sugar — so while most products scream no sugar (they mean white sugar), they still add glucose, fructose, or for diabetics, chemical sweeteners, which actually have long-term effects. "Milk solids have also been linked to schizophrenia, autism, depression and multiple sclerosis (MS)," she adds.

Killer ingredients
Invert syrup, strawberry crush (sugar, water, strawberry pulp, thickener), strawberry syrup, pineapple crush, mango crush, apple juice, concentrate, liquid glucose, soy lecithin
What's hiding?
The label says there's no added sugar, but the sugar rush you get from the various syrups added to make this a scrumptious breakfast, is perhaps why you probably have been hyperactive. If your blood sugar levels are going awry, blame it on your breakfast cereals. And the extreme sugar rush is not the only cause of worry.

Most packaged muesli contains soy lecithin, a by-product of the soybean oil production. Studies suggest some of the common sideeffects of soy lecithin — used to bind the various ingredients together — are change in weight (loss and gain), loss of appetite, occasional nausea, dizziness, vomiting and confusion. "Besides, if you have been advised by your doctor not to eat soya, you may just be consuming it unknowingly even in breads," shares eco-nutritionist Kavita Mukhi.

Killer ingredients
Dehydrated vegetables, water, edible vegetable oil, cashewnut, salt, sugar, butter, ginger paste
What's hiding?
Physician and cardiometabolic specialist, at Tardeo's Bhatia Hospital, Dr Hemant Thacker, says that ready-to-eat meals are full of dehydrated vegetables which are nutrient-empty. They are only fibre and calories. Worse, the process of reheating the vegetable kills whatever micronutrients are left in the food. He adds that it is impossible to preserve food for 12 months if they haven't added any additives or chemicals. "Those additives may be permissible for that much quantity of food, but if you keep eating it day in and day out, you are posing great danger to your kidney and liver," he says.

Packaged soups
Killer ingredients
Corn flour, edible vegetable oil, thickener, softening agent, sugar, salt, dehydrated vegetables, dried glucose syrup, edible vegetable fat, yeast extract powder, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, acidity regulator, flavour enhancer
What's hiding?
Prepare tomato soup using fresh tomatoes. Do this for a couple of days. Does the colour turn out the same every day? No. How then do the various soup manufacturers manage to keep the colour of packet soup uniform? It is thanks to the colouring agents which are sometimes disguised as 'flavour enhancers'. Dr Thacker says, "Colouring agents are toxic. They put the liver and kidney into overdrive, since these organs have to work extra hard to wash away chemicals from the system and make them safe for the body. This means that the overworked liver is unable to do its regular job — it handles the nutrients that have been absorbed by the gut from food, removes toxins from the blood, makes proteins like albumin and clotting factors, and secretes bile which helps digest fatty foods in particular — as efficiently." That apart, Sabherwal points out, hydrolyzed vegetable protein contains up to 30 per cent MSG, which is known to trigger headaches, rapid heart rate, chest pain and cause nausea. "Moreover, yeast extract powder only increases the bad bacteria (yeast) in the body. This causes problems with the pH levels and creates acidic blood condition, therefore decreasing immunity," she says.

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