Which aspect of health food matters more: Taste or nutrition?
Generally, a well rounded meal offers both superb taste and excellent dietary content as well…
But if circumstances force a consumer to choose between a tasty health product and a less appetizing, but more nutritious meal…the food’s content and not the palate pleasing properties should probably prevail. After all, many customers purchase health foods from retailers precisely because these products offer a rich source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber and, sometimes, anti-oxidants.
Before making a decision to choose one brand over another, a savvy shopper might weigh two considerations of particular importance: First, the issue of unnecessary additives in some health products probably should prompt all of us to examine the ingredients in food closely in light of two questions. Did a manufacturer modify an item simply to enhance the flavor? And , if so, are all of the “extras” really beneficial?
Second, healthy food selections may assist a consumer in maintaining an optimal diet. In fact, many authorities believe that people require some nutrients on a regular basis in order to thrive, and avoid nutritional deficiencies. The vital importance of this principle deserves recognition.
This article will examine both of these concerns in greater detail, and then briefly discuss the role of some particular types of nutrients:
Issue One: Read Labels Carefully!
Today, manufacturers sometimes include additives designed to appeal to the taste buds of patrons. By attracting customers who will purchase their brands on a regular basis, a food product manufacturer may find this strategy cost effective. For example, a survey may reveal that most shoppers expect a particular item to appear one color and not another, or to convey a specific aroma. Companies will sometimes accommodate these popular preferences by adding ingredients, such as coloring or flavor compounds, to an already nutritious food item.
Yet arguably, often the provision of these substances does not enhance the inherent value of the product. While some preservatives remain necessary in order to prevent spoilage before the point of sale, unnecessary manipulations of food items for marketing purposes alone may do nothing to improve the overall health value from a consumer’s standpoint. And some common additions, such as the provision of extra salt, may enhance taste but may not benefit every buyer.
In fact, some nutrition experts complain that people today often consume far too much salt and sugary flavorings. The typical American diet already contains an adequate amount of these items in the view of most authorities.
Yet today even some products marketed mainly as “health” foods contain higher than necessary levels of salts and sugars. It remains a wise idea to read labels carefully. Often manufacturers will describe salt on labels using its formal chemical name “sodium chloride.”
The American Heart Association cautions that one in every three Americans risks developing high blood pressure. The nonprofit health organization notes that dietary factors may well account for this grim statistic. High blood pressure has been linked in some studies with a number of potential health issues, including heart disease and kidney disease.
Issue Two: Good Nutrition Offers Tangible Health Benefits
As a general rule, health food usually tastes good. And most people agree that maintaining a nutritious daily diet represents an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Why?
For many years, medical experts have expressed concerns about disease conditions associated with dietary deficiencies. For example, decades ago doctors observed a connection between the development of scurvy, a condition characterized by by spongy, bleeding gums and severe periodontal disease, with diets low in Vitamin C. In bygone eras, sailors undertaking protracted voyages sometimes lacked the ability to consume foods rich in this nutrient, and some mariners reportedly contracted scurvy.
Obtaining a healthy diet remains important today, too.
For instance, physicians urge expectant mothers to consume prenatal vitamins in order to reduce the chances of babies developing nutritionally related ailments prior to birth. The nutritional content of food potentially impacts human health at every stage of life.
Vitamins And Trace Minerals, Fiber And Anti-Oxidants…
And what purpose do all these nutrients really serve? Why do vitamins and trace minerals, fiber and anti-oxidants matter so much?
Health authorities have issued minimum (and in some cases, maximum) daily allowances for the average person’s daily ingestion of various vitamins and trace minerals based on gender and age. These guidelines help empower consumers to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
Many health foods contain important vitamins and trace minerals.
Most foods do not exceed the minimum daily levels for vitamins and minerals and may be safely consumed in addition to vitamin supplementation. (However, it is always a wise idea to consult with your physician in selecting a vitamin and mineral supplement because individual needs may vary.)
Vitamins and trace minerals contribute to biochemical processes which occur on an ongoing basis within the human body. Many trace minerals consumed in food items function as co-factors in the completion of important enzymatic processes at a cellular level, for example.
Enzymes are substances produced by cells which help to bring about or speed up various important functions within the body. No one can survive very long without them.
So consuming foods which contain trace levels of certain vitamins and minerals may produce health benefits from a nutritional standpoint.
Similarly, eating health foods which contain some fiber benefits most people. Especially in developed countries, where consumers sometimes eat mainly highly processed foods, the consumption of fiber-rich selections (such as apples and whole grains) often enhances meals or snacks.
And today many people also preferentially select foods which boast a high level of anti-oxidants, substances which help to promote the removal of toxic material at a cellular level. Generally, brightly colored fruits and vegetables usually provide many useful anti-oxidants.
So, for all these reasons, the content of the food item should in my opinion influence a consumer’s decision more than the taste of the product alone. Flavor can be artificially manipulated, but nutritious ingredients play a vital role in warding off some type of dietary deficiencies.
Scanning a label to ascertain the contents of a packaged product requires relatively little time. This simple step can offer important guidance about the ingredients included within a particular selection.