Everyday we sit down at our dinner table and dig into our meals, but do you truly know what you're putting into your bodies? How do you think your food is able to stay fresh for two to three weeks? Why does store bought food taste sweeter, look brighter, and feel heavier than homegrown? What are the necessary precautions that are needed to maintain a healthier diet? First off let’s talk about why companies add artificial preservatives to your food. The answer is simple. More time preserved equals more time for consumers to buy products, which inevitably equates to more profit. Adding preservatives to their products is a short term solution for a long term health problem (Over ⅔ of the American population is overweight or obese). Companies inherently make their products larger, brighter, and sweeter compared to homegrown foods because it attracts more consumers. Even the acknowledgement of major health effects will not deter companies from unnaturally growing their foods to cash in profit. Take sugar-free gum for example, a seemingly innocent candy for its reputation for not having sugar, has artificial sweeteners used to enhance the taste. Chances are, your favorite food or beverage has ingredients made in a lab. This often goes unnoticed by the majority of consumers. The majority of consumers nowadays don’t take the extra minute to check the label found behind their favorite foods. Look at your favorite food’s label, are you able to identify all the ingredients? Most likely not.“I turned my Fruit Loops box around and I could name one, maybe two ingredients that I saw,” says Emil Alldredge, Junior at Panther Creek High School. The ingredients added include Dimethyl Dicarbonate, Sodium Benzoate, and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons just to name a few. The consumption of these chemicals can increase chances of many chronic diseases including obesity, heart disease, and even cancer. Do you want these chemicals affecting your future? Don’t be tricked by the unnecessary tactics that companies use to appeal to common folk.
It's time for you to clean up your plates. Let’s identify what products include the most preservatives. This can range from crackers to deli meats. If cutting these foods out of your life completely isn’t feasible there’s no need to panic, there is a solution. These are some easy tips to shop and eat healthier. First off, read nutrition labels! This cannot be stressed enough. Simply by reading the labels, you will be able to distinguish your healthy foods from your unhealthy foods. Look at the first three ingredients and make sure you know what they are because these tend to be what your meal mainly consists of. Next up, drink more water. Sophomore at Panther Creek High School, Shagun Rai says, “If I had to estimate, I drink about two gallons of water everyday.” Drinking this much water allows you to cut off your intake of other beverages which could include artificial sweeteners or preservatives. Artificial fruit juices and sodas are major bearers of these chemicals. Another quick tip is to include whole grain as a part of your diet. Whole grain foods can provide you with a high fiber meal that is filling and nutrient rich. Fibers are essential to clean your digestive system and maintain healthy bowel movements. Last but certainly not least, eat more fruits and vegetables.
This is self explanatory but fruits and vegetables contain countless amounts of vitamins and minerals.
I personally recommend you to grow your own fruits and vegetables! Not only is it healthier and more organic, this could be an interesting pastime as well.
Even asking yourself questions about how these products are made can help you avoid the artificial ingredients. Questions such as “How do my Fruit Loops maintain that rainbow color?” and “How does my Sprite produce bubbles and have a fizzy aftertaste?” can help you rethink your dietary decisions and maintain a healthier lifestyle going forward. Your health must be taken into your own hands to maximize your longevity, so next time you sit down for dinner, look around at your table and think about what you're really putting in your mouth.