BY ADEWARA JOSES
In the ancient years, our forefathers were known to be hunters and farmers – seems that was the only business that they were involved in then – who lived long because of their bodily involvements in farm works and the highly nutritional meals – food got directly from the source –they were eating.
In modern days, technology has crept into the world, and has made the work easier for the modern farmers. This technology itself has made food production, storage and processing much more possible and easier. As a result, so many foods are being processed into various forms; these foods are being mixed with several ingredients and chemicals, passed through several processes so as to obtain various products of longer shelf life and appealing taste. As a result of these processes the foods have been passed through, the products becomes lesser in their nutritional value. These food products are known as shelf stable food.
Shelf stable foods include foods like canned fish, canned beef, cakes, cookies, candy, soda, canned chicken, ketchup, bottled or canned juices, sugary drinks etc. that can easily be stored at room temperature in an air tight condition.
They are the foods that can survive long periods of time on store or home shelves. Foods like these have the ability to last longer than freshly harvested foods, or freshly cooked meals. They are generally regarded as junks. These foods do contain excess salt and sugar; they also contain various chemicals, which are used as preservatives. In recent years, consumption of these kinds of food has been increasing exponentially – the demand for canned beverages, frozen meals, fortified diets is increasing each day. Masses now prefer these foods because they are readily available, and many of them can easily be consumed without prior cooking.
The characteristics of these shelf stable foods include:
▪️They contain multiple synthetic chemicals
▪️They are highly flavoured
▪️They are nutritionally barren
▪️They contain excess sugar and salt
▪️They can be digested and absorbed rapidly
▪️They are calorically dense : give more energy, but less nutrients
And it is discovered by some nutritionists that because of the high density of the calories, they are easily absorbed by the bloodstream, and the faster the calories of a food enters into the bloodstream, the higher the release of the fat storage hormones and the greater the increase in dopamine (a driver of addiction in the brain). Therefore, because of all these, shelf stable foods initiate food addiction and cravings. And insulin (the main hormone responsible for fat storage) responses to these food by storing more fat, which leads to weight gain, cellular replication and eventually cancer.
Isn’t it pathetic to realise how we are indirectly involved in the killing our own selves gradually? Or could it be advancement of technology that is killing us? We wouldn’t blame technology, but ourselves. The excess rate at which these fast foods are consumed needs to be controlled.
Staying off the shelf i.e. limiting the consumption of these shelf stable foods is an absolute measure to stay healthy. Fresh foods like fruit, vegetables are good sources of vitamins that enhance the functionality of various systems and organs in the body, these foods should not be excluded in our diets each day. Freshly cooked meals that contain all necessary nutrients should be what we take every day. Shelf stable foods wear away lives gradually and should be discouraged amidst the children, adults, aged, the invalids and the nursing mothers.
The foods we consume speak so much of our health. To stay healthy, it is essential we eat good foods.