No matter how much you strive to stay healthy, at some point or the other, the urge to indulge in junk food takes over. And when there’s no fast-food joint in sight, that packet of chips and glass of cola comes to your rescue.
While the perils of eating packaged foods are known to one and all, a new global survey has revealed that they are the unhealthiest in India.
Published in the journal Obesity Reviews, the researchers analysed more than 4,00,000 food and drink products from 12 countries and territories around the world. The survey highlights the high levels of sugar, saturated fat, salt and calories/kJ in several of our favourite food items.
The countries were ranked using Australia’s Health Star Rating system which measures the levels of the nutrients such as energy, salt, sugar, saturated fat as well as protein, calcium and fibre, and assigns a star rating from half—least healthy to five—the most healthy.
It was found that the UK had the highest average Health Star Rating of 2.83, followed by the US at 2.82 and Australia at 2.81.
Among the lowest were, of course, India with just 2.27 rating, China with 2.43, and Chile 2.44. The research also found that China’s drinks were among the healthiest with an average Health Star Rating of 2.9 but packaged foods scored low at just 2.39.
South Africa on the other hand scored low with its drinks at an average 1.92 rating while its foods came in at 2.87.
The UK scored best for sugar at just 3.8 grams per 100 grams, with Canada being the second best at 4.6 grams per 100 grams.
Why is this study important? Well, given the rise of lifestyle diseases like PCOD and diabetes mellitus and increasing dependence on packaged foods—this study is like a statutory warning, asking you to stay away from that packet of chips.
With hidden salts and absurd levels of sugar in most of our favourite packaged products, it’s finally time to look at healthier snacks for that chhota bhookh. Think fruits, home-made protein bars, and hell even ghar-ka-fries. The options are endless—you’ve just got to look.