Be careful when buying food. Most consumers think it is enough to look at the expiration date when buying packaged food. But the job does not end there. It is also important to know which foods are included in the food content. Many people do not take this into account when shopping for food. However, each food packaging has a label that contains information about the additives used. A conscious consumer should check the labels of the food they buy.
Why is it important to read food labels? What does a phrase mean? Do consumers have to pay attention? Head of the Department of Food Technology, University of Health Sciences. Sibel Bolek answers a curious question for TRT Haber.
What information needs to be included in the food label?
Find out what foods are high in protein, carbohydrates, fats and minerals. It must be mentioned if any additions are used in its content.
Is there any limit to the use of food additives?
Generally, these additives must be used in accordance with a specific law. It is used within certain limits. However, it has been shown in scientific research that additions can be used far more than the law. Of course, there are fines and bans if caught. But until it is caught, we have consumed it. That’s why we need to be a little more careful about foods with additives that are harmful to health.
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The expiration date and the proposed expiration date are confusing. What is the difference between the two?
Some foods can be eaten even after expiration. For example, you can use salt after expiration. Or dry food so that there is no water… because where there is water there is life. For both us and the microorganisms … Therefore, a dry food has a specific consumption date, but you have not consumed it up to this date … You examine it, you see any mold, mold, etc. inside it. Otherwise, you can use this food after expiration. The recommended serving date is better if it is eaten up to the following date; But we understand that there is no harm in eating after this date. However, foods with high water content, such as meat and dairy products, which are suitable for microbial growth, must be eaten at the expiration date.
What is the purpose of food additives?
They participate for different purposes. There are many factors such as food preservation, increasing nutritional value, increasing the shelf life of food. Today, in parallel with the growing trend of healthy eating, we find that the expression “no preservatives” is used in food. There are some drawbacks to this expression. Because when we say that there are no preservatives in it, the consumer understands that there is no addition. However, by emphasizing the term preservative, we see that many flavors and additives have been added which have some health problems. For this reason, no matter what is written on the package, the food label information must be read.
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What these additions mean is largely unknown … How will the consumer understand what this means in terms of health when he reads the label?
For this, we have applications that we can download to our phones; About food additions … we can use them. After downloading the application and writing the code, we see that it is an addition. Information can also be found on whether it poses a health risk.
Which food additions should we pay attention to?
Glucose fructose syrup
It can also be referred to as starch-based candy or high fructose syrup. We find it in many foods like cakes, biscuits, chocolate, salad dressings, desserts and ice cream. However, scientific studies have shown that glucose fructose syrup causes many diseases, especially type-2 diabetes.
In our country, the quota of starch based sugar has been reduced from 5 percent to 2.5 percent in 2019. However, considering that many of the packaged foods we consume contain glucose fructose syrup, when evaluated in terms of the total increasing effect we receive during the day, the presence of this substance in foods that children consume in large quantities poses a major health risk. By For this reason, we need to look for expressions such as “sugar made from beet sugar, no added sugar” or “sweetened with dates” in the foods we buy.
Trans fat is also called hydrogenated vegetable oil in food packaging. It has been shown in many clinical studies that it has very harmful effects on our body. Trans fats are identified as fat around the waist and abdomen. On the other hand, it accumulates around the vital organs of the body, causing fat to accumulate. It can also cause coronary heart disease. For this reason, we need to be very careful that our diet is as low in trans fat as possible or does not contain any trans fat.
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Palm oil is widely used in many packaged foods. A cheap source of palm oil. And because of this, it provides some benefits to the manufacturer in terms of cost. However, the amount of saturated fat in palm oil is much higher. In other words, it is more likely to cause coronary heart disease when ingested. Indeed, scientific studies have clinical results that palm oil raises bad cholesterol.
A kind of food
The taste of the food can be well understood. It is added to food for many reasons, such as increased appetite, because it masks the negative taste of food. However, studies have shown that monosodium glutamate is associated with obesity. On the other hand, in a study conducted on rats, it was scientifically proven that excessive use of monosodium glutamate causes brain lesions.
It is found in many meat products such as packaged and vacuumed salami, sausages and sausages. However, when this substance is taken into the body, it is converted to nitrosamine, which has been known as carcinogenic for many years. Sodium nitrite, which is added to meat products under certain laws, is preferred for many reasons, such as extending the shelf life of food and improving color.
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Fruit drinks or fruit flavored drinks
The use of fruit juice additives is prohibited within the framework of the Food Act. However, we see that additions, some of which are harmful to health, are used in the lower case “fruit drink” and “fruit flavored drink”. For this reason, if we want to drink fruit juice with no additives, we have to write the phrase “fruit juice” on it.
Almonds contain ingredients that are very beneficial for our body. But in our country or all over the world dried nuts are fried. We find that some trans fats are made from oils that are fried at high temperatures. We find that roasted nuts produce trans fat due to their high fat content. For this reason, if we do not want it to contain trans fat, we must take care to buy nuts with the inscription “raw”.