Phood – or food mixed with healthy servings of active ingredients such as vitamins, minerals and even good cholesterol – are all the rage nowadays. What products seem to be leading the phood bandwagon are nutritionally enriched tetra-packed juices and a hand full of other beverages, and cookies with omega-3 and 5 fatty acids.
But here’s some food for thought: why should a fruit juice have an extra dosage of vitamins? And more importantly, why should a calorie –rich snack such as a cookie have omega-3?
Come to think about it, the additional active ingredients look good when mentioned on the packaging. And given how most of us tend to have unhealthy eating habits and a diet that is lesser on the organic quotient , having an extra dosage of essential active nutrients through other sources doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all.
But that’s not quite how it works; phoods have a darker side as opposed to their apparent healthy perks. Taking a look at the cookie that has extra omega-3 baked in its batter, the only reason why omega-3 seems to improve your health is that you end up consuming an overwhelming amount of the nutrient in combination with all of the other food you eat – eggs, meat and vegetable oils. There is a severe omega-3 to omega-6 imbalance, and the consuming extra amounts of omega-3 won’t really make you any healthier. Instead it just goes to waste.
That’s not all! Adding extra active ingredients to these phoods only gives you the idea that they’re healthy. But they’re not. In fact, cookies with omega-3 added into them are still just sugary, heavily processed oil and white flour. While adding some omega-3s may help to quench your daily requirements and add the obvious benefits, the sugar will still predispose you to a number of related health problems, and the white flour too.
Fortified milk is another good example. Calcium is of course a very vital ingredient for musculoskeletal health and development. Deficiencies in the nutrient lead to osteoporosis in women and fractures especially in growing children. But what’s ironic as that the incidents of both these medical adversities are higher in countries where the consumption of fortified milk and other of industrial dairy produce is high as well. This is most likely because industrial dairy products make your body more acidic as do fizzy drinks, and your body balances it out by sucking the calcium from your bones rendering them weak. And once again, you’re tricked by the idea that phoods are actually good for you.
And since I just mentioned fizzy drinks, adding minerals and vitamins to them – or to any packed juice for that matter – doesn’t make them any healthier. The sugar and acids still take their toll on your health. Instead, if you just had fresh fruit juices, water and organic food, you probably wouldn’t be incurring in nutrient shortage that would require you to supplement the deficiency with phood.
So what’s the real problem with phood? Doctors, nutritionists and scientists find a problem with something as simple as a cookie or a pack of juice, but the industry doesn’t stop enticing people to hog it down. Instead, the industry mixes a couple of essential goodies into the recipe mix and re-packs it. The result, we as consumers think that we’re eating healthy, but are actually worsening our health wit ever bit e and sip. If you really want to be healthy, go for real organic food and let the phood just a snack or a drink you can have on your cheat days.