nutritious foods packaged in new and improved ways can be bad
for you in the long run if you don't read labels carefully, say
With all of
the advances in food preparation, it's easy to eat too much, too
eat traditional foods in a newly processed form from peanut
butter sliced like cheese, to the dozens of forms of soy products,
or portable yogurt eaten out of a plastic tube they may
not realize that many of these ready-to-eat foods could have decreased
nutritional value, and sometimes, increased calories and fat than
whole grains, and unprocessed fruits and vegetables.
W. Anderson, a professor of medicine and clinical nutrition at
the University of Kentucky, in Lexington believes that the easier
any food is to prepare, carry and eat, the more likely you are
to eat it. And the more you eat, the more weight you can gain.
foods contribute to weight gain," Anderson said. "I think that
consumers need to be more sophisticated. If you're concerned about
fat, less than 30 percent of your calories have to come from fat."
Can Eating and Running Ever Be
New and different
food forms such as the tube yogurt and candy-like bars
infused with protein can be good ways for people on the
go to pack in important nutrients, such as calcium. But don't
overdo it, say the experts.
a Web site that offers nutritional advice, says the tendency is
to grab fatty foods on the go, mainly because they are easy to
eat, provide quick energy, and can trigger the brain's "feel-good
response to carbohydrates," she said in a recent e-mail.
are made to respond to American lifestyles," she wrote. "Additional
ingredients/processing can be used to make convenient forms or
packaging. Convenience packaging can help increase consumption
of nutritious foods like yogurt or milk as well as high fat, high
protein bars, Larsen says, could help you put on pounds, too,
whether the protein comes from an animal or vegetable-based source.
should look at the nutrient content on food labels. Protein should
[account for] between 10 and 20 percent of calories [consumed
in one day], fat around 20 to 30 percent, [and] carbohydrates
filling the remaining 50 percent," said Larsen.
"Bars or shakes
with higher protein will taste nauseating and pure amino acids
just don't taste good period. Bars with less fat will not be satisfying
so that hunger will return within two hours."
also should scrutinize the labels of these bars. "Good sources
of protein should come from milk, egg or soybean and may be listed
as casein, whey, albumin, egg white, yolk, or soy protein and
should be the first or second ingredient. If sugar or corn syrup
solids is listed first, then the bar is just a candy bar in disguise."
finds that people who eat the bars often may look for something
else to eat in addition to the bar. Even if a bar is nutritionally
balanced enough to be a full meal, it takes 20 minutes for a message
to get to your stomach from your brain to tell you that you're
full. A little bar doesn't always fill a person up right away.
But the most
important developments that make all of these convenient food
forms mainstays in the American diet is the work researchers have
done with artificial food flavorings.
flavoring, processed foods would lose their taste and ultimately
said that many processed foods contain more nutrients folic
acid-fortified breads and pasta are good examples than
would be found in raw foods due to enrichment or fortification.
"Not all processed
foods are bad for you, just [the ones that are] high fat, high
sugar processed foods, which should be limited to infrequent use."
consumers cook from scratch with basic, simple food ingredients
because the American lifestyle doesn't have time on the fast track
to life," she said. "Processed, conveniently packaged foods that
can be eaten out of hand encourage Americans continue their fast
Soy Pros and Cons
One of the
most popular and malleable food sources today is soy. Nutritionists
say the chemical compounds that makes soy powerful isoflavones
have qualities that could reduce risks of heart disease,
problems related to osteoporosis, breast and prostate cancers,
and possibly some additional benefits for pre-menopausal women.
experts say people can get the benefits of soy by consuming about
25 grams of soy protein a day. Although usually food labels don't
give an exact amount of soy protein in a food source, Anderson
says it roughly amounts to about a handful of soy nuts, or a scoop
of soy protein powder added to your morning glass of juice.
But with everything
from soy hot dogs, to burgers, to cheese and tempeh bacon, which
form of soy is the best? Anderson says consumers should choose
products that have "isolated soy protein" listed on the label's
ingredients rather than "soy concentrate," says Anderson.
Isolated soy protein products are washed with water, and they
retain up to 90 percent of the soy's isoflavones and other healthy
properties, Anderson says. However, some products use soy protein
concentrate, a form of soy that is purified with alcohol to take
away some of soy's "offputting characteristics" (such as stomach
The best way
to get the benefits of soy and its isoflavones into your diet
is to use tofu or tempeh ("Although I realize that they take an
acquired taste," Anderson says), but using isolated soy protein
powder mixed in juice also works. Or, a handful of soy nuts makes
a good snack, he said.
As far as
some of the other soy products, such as soy hot dogs and veggie
burgers, many of them are considerably lower in isoflavones, so
it's necessary to check the food labels carefully for the soy
protein isolate, if you want the full health benefit.
Reference Source 104