Know what your eating


The vast majority of health experts recommend eating a balanced, healthy diet to maintain or lose weight and to optimise your overall feeling of well-being. But exactly what is a healthy diet?

The basic components of a healthy diet include the right amount and balance of:

Protein – found in fish, meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, nuts and beans.

Fat – found in animal and dairy products, nuts, seeds and oils

Carbohydrates – found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other legumes.

Water- the most vital of all nutrients essential for life

So, you may say I’ve got all of those core food groups in my everyday diet but yet I feel unwell, constantly tired and unmotivated or I can’t seem to shift a few stubborn pounds. Well this is where food producing companies globally are managing to fool us through very clever marketing ploys. Let’s take a look at some of the more common foods which may not be as beneficial to our health as we are lead to believe.

Low Calorie Ready Meals

A calorie is simply a measurement, just like a teaspoon or an inch. Calories are the amount of energy released when your body breaks down food. The more calories a food has, the more energy it can provide to the body. It’s the source of the calories rather than the amount of calories that we should focus on. For example an apple contains more calories than a chocolate chip cookie but clearly we know which one is healthier. Many ready meals are marketed as low calorie but often contain high amounts of salt and even worse, artificial flavourings and preservatives. The most common of these is MSG (monosodium glutamate). This flavour enhancer is found in most ready meals, packet sauces and soups, crisps etc.  It is seen by many experts as a major health concern because it contains a toxin which over excites the cells in the body. This is thought to be associated with digestive distress, behaviour problems, weight gain and a long list of other symptoms.

No Added Sugar Soft Drinks

Every day we see this food labelling marketed as being healthy because the bottle of fizzy drink or dilute squash contains no sugar, therefore lower in calories. But do we stop to think what makes it so sweet instead? No. We continue to allow our children to consume vast amounts of this sweet poison. One of the most controversial artificial sweeteners is called Aspartame. It is found in virtually every ‘no added sugar’ soft drink, but often disguised under a more attractive name. It contains chemicals directly linked to weight gain, depression, neurological disorders, anxiety, heart palpitations and many more.

A good habit for all of us to get into is to start taking note of the ingredients list on food and drink labelling. Generally if you can’t pronounce it you’re better off without it.


Richard Sheehan, Nutritional Therapist



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