It is a lethargic evening and you do not have any energy to prepare a proper meal for yourself. You wonder, “What should I eat?” And the mind starts giving you a list of food items that are readymade, easily available and considered delicious for your tongue. And just like, you end up ordering a pizza or some dumplings! This is the tendency of most people today. Because of our early exposure to processed and preservative-contained foods, our tongue clearly remembers the taste.
So, we are less inclined to eat the home-made healthy meals because they don’t have the same taste that we so remember. But in the long run, consistently being dependent on processed foods can have a negative implication as shown by researches. A study was conducted in the United Kingdom (UK) on more than 197,000 people, where half of them were women. The study has come up with a finding that regular consumption of ultra-processed foods can increase the probability of people suffering from different kinds of cancer.
Apparently, a 10 per cent increase in the consumption of such foods can raise the risk of cancer development by two per cent. The ultra-processed food consists of pre-packaged soups, hot dogs, French fries, cakes, candies and ready-to-eat meals, among others. It’s not like such research has not been conducted before. It is a known fact that most food consumed outside is not healthy for our body and can develop different kinds of health hazard. However, we have not been able to completely switch to healthy modes of eating.
Right from an early age, we feed children with candies or cookies or some kind of fast food because they are easily available. And once children get the hang of such foods, there is no turning back. After that, they will in no way want to eat healthy meals. Processed meals will become a treat and healthy ones a punishment. The issue is, habits of our childhood will continue till our adulthood. With passing age, our body is unable to properly recover from the under nutritious food that we have been feeding it with, consistently.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide. Therefore, we can work on preventing it, to an extent, by following a healthy diet pattern. Obviously, pesticide-injected vegetables and fruits are another big concern of today. But ensuring that some forms of fruits and vegetables are there in our meal can help a lot. Our body requires proper macro and micro nutrients which ultra-processed meals fail to give.
So, primordial prevention through individual and mass education programmes can be a good way ahead. The government and other agencies concerned should start coming up with such projects that can create awareness of healthy eating behaviour. There is a need for developing a healthy diet in public facilities as well. Food sold or food served should be developed in a way that they are healthy. This promotes greater health and wellness while ensuring adequate nutrition to the public.
Private food manufacturing industries should also work on improving their packaged food items. They should make sure that the foods they produce are healthier. The amount of preservatives added should be well within a particular threshold. Restaurants and street vendors should also be regularised to promote healthier meals. There is a need to build such societal norms that promote healthy eating practice.