Frustration about foods available - Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

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Frustration about foods available

Macrovioletics profile image

I am tired of not finding foods that are healthy and satisfying around. What is labelled as "healthy" lacks the real feeling of it. 

What is "healthy food"? 

Apparently milk is not as recommended as it used to (not just because I am lactose intolerant myself, but also because of what has been published) There is no dairy recommendation, it became "optional" and limited to 1-2 servings per day.

So all these "healthy eating" vegetarian options loaded with cheese are not truly healthy.

And the amount of salt is too high. And there is sugar added (why would you add sugar, it doesn't need it!)

Slowly frustration is turning into motivation to do something about it. 

Who is with me?


40 Replies
Cooper27 profile image

This drives me insane! I swear I've spent half an hour walking around our local corner shop looking for a healthy snack before, and getting so frustrated by how hard it is! 75% of the shop is dedicated to crisps, chocolate and biscuits and soft drinks, and the rest is shared by tins of beans. You find a healthy snacks section, and it's full of non-healthy foods (like flapjack!), or everything costs a fortune.

I hate the way they try to pretend rubbish foods are healthy too. Like adding vitamin C to coco pops, makes them healthy....

As you can see, this is a big gripe of mine too! I feel your pain!!

in reply to Cooper27

Well said cooper27..very well said. Corporate takeover of the world not just UK, for ya. We have to learn to say no!!

Remember we are all individuals, with different needs.  One person's "healthy" is another person's "not good for you". 

A thin man who cycles 10 miles everyday needs some sugar and carbs and/or fat in his diet.  He might need salt if he sweats alot!  A growing child who plays sport needs his milk and butter for calcium and vitamin D for his bones to grow strong.  An old lady needs the protein, and calcium in dairy products to keep her bones strong.  A young overweight woman might need high water content foods, fruit, veg and protein from meat, fish or pulses to keep her feeling full, but not the fat in cream and butter or sugar and carbs in high quantities, if she is prone to weight gain.

Know your own body; feed it what it needs according to your age, lifestyle and general health... and listen to what your body likes - a little (with the emphasis on little) of what you fancy does you good!  Eat a balanced range of different foods, different colours, different flavours and you can't go wrong if you stick to the old saying; "everything in moderation".

Cooper27 profile image
Cooper27Administrator in reply to DartmoorDumpling

I suppose it depends on the individuals needs, but there are foods out there sold as being healthy, that are arguably not. They try to market nutella as a healthy breakfast spread because it contains calcium, but you'd have to eat half the jar to get any decent nutrient content, and that is sooo much sugar!

It is just as well that some of us read the labels and make our own minds up.  Advertising has a lot to answer for!

Oh, I totally agree that everyone needs to find their own balance. However, I would not put dairy food in anyone's balance. Not the best available source of calcium and protein.

I studied Nutrition (many years ago), and we were taught that Milk and Butter and Cheese were necessary in our diet to get calcium. However, we were told that only the Chinese (as a nation) don't regularly eat dairy foods and we were taught that they got their calcium from chewing bones such as spare ribs and possibly fishbones too. 

I understand that tinned fish is good because of the softened bones in it and you can get calcium from Nuts, and Green veg, - but you might have to eat quite a lot of these.  We were also taught that you need sunlight on your skin to produce Vitamin D (also good for bones) but modern children are covered with sun-screen, so deficiency diseases like Rickets are beginning to make a comeback.

Every generation is taught something different it seems!

Cooper27 profile image
Cooper27Administrator in reply to DartmoorDumpling

It bugs me that the message around nutrition changes throughout the years. I was allergic to milk as a child - I couldn't drink raw milk, but I could have small amounts of dairy, infrequently - as a result, I would never meet the recommended guideline amounts on dairy. It probably scews my opinion, but I agree dairy isn't necessarily the best source of calcium.

I don't know if the nutrtition message is influenced by the food manufacturers themselves, that's the bit that bugs me the most! It's so hard to tell which lines of the nutrition message are true.

linlow profile image
linlow in reply to Cooper27

Fortunately they now have to disclose any interest so it is easier, providing you can get to the small print, to find out who is behind what.  Having said that I would be inclined to take a more suspicious outlook toward positive messages regarding manufactured products and negative ones about natural.  Those always raise my suspicions.

Advertising has a lot to answer for!! I recently read 'Fat Chance' by Dr Robert Lustig and he compared lots of popular diets and compared them to decide low calorie but balanced diet is the answer 😊 Also enough fibre. So i guess there aren't any 'healthy' foods as such, just 'healthier' choices 😊 

Cooper27 profile image
Cooper27Administrator in reply to IndigoBlue61

Yeah, I recently read that you are supposed to limit how much fruit you eat if you're trying to lose weight! 2 bits of fruit for someone maintaining weight, 1 piece if you're trying to lose weight.

Surely the whole diet needs to be considered. I would be interested in the details behind this. Do different fruits have different effects - e.g. is an apple better than a banana?

Cooper27 profile image
Cooper27Administrator in reply to PhilFreeToAsk

No idea! I think it's to do with the sugar/carb intake, they didn't explain the reasons, just that you should limit them.

Hmmmm think I would need to know the reasoning behind it 😕I'm not s huge fan of fruit so often only have one or two portions but aim for three for the vitamins and fibre 😕

I would be more suspicious of smoothies and fruit juices which are laden with sugars than in its original form.

That's another thing that frustrates me, people believing that smoothie are the next best thing. They are OK if you want to cool down, but all that concentrated sugar without the fibre to carry it, can be too much sometimes. I read an article about how we juice too much and it's somehow wasteful. 

There is too much emphasis in a quick fix rather than having a middle-ground non-excessive staple diet.

ahh, no, smoothies 'should' have the same fibre content of the original ingredients so, in one sense, they carry the same nutrient base.  However there is a negative side that comes from the ready accessibility of the sugars speeding up digestion and stimulating insulin release.

The latest fad, juicing, is the one that has the fibre removed and really has little benefit unless the ingredients are very carefully selected - except perhaps, in small doses, for invalids or to train children to eat their 5 a day

in reply to linlow

U can juice without making it completely smooth: that way there is still fibre in the food:-)

in reply to Cooper27

One can overdo eating fruit so yes, too much sugar AND tooth decaying.....but three /day is fine as long as we also eat veg

linlow profile image
linlow in reply to PhilFreeToAsk

Yes they do. On this page you can see a side by side comparison, though it doesn't give a guide to nutrients. The thing to do is look for glycaemic load information  This tells you how rapidly your body uses the sugars released.  The lower the load the longer you remain satisfied and the less effect upon you insulin levels.

I have been studying the effects of foods in a more empirical way, which in a way is the base of science (although science is now getting too dogmatic for my taste). At the moment I cannot have any fruit because of its sugar content (fructose), which is too much for me. I have other vegetables and I'm fine (and I use some lemon juice for dressings). 

The theory that I'm trying to experience is the one that shows how nature provides for its environment. So in warmer climates, foods would be more cooling and in cold climates, warming. That's the difference for your example, without looking at the nutritional compounds of the fruits, a banana would be more cooling (making you feel more relaxed and tired) than an apple (still cooling because it's a fruit, but less...). All these things affect people differently as well, but in general they work and I recommend everyone to put it to the test and make up their mind about it!

You make an interesting point on heat. I understand that Traditional Chinese Medicine will examine heat in the body. That idea is used in foods and herbs/spices to maintain health. It is no coincidence that certain foods are available at certain times of year.

I applaud your approach to feel what is needed and use your innate intelligence. It is that intuition that seems to have been lost these days which is not a surprise because most of us have lost touch with nature. What would people do to determine whether a food is healthy - read the label, look up an app or trust themselves?

I beleive that we should all experiment by growing just at least one item of food but grow it organically. This was to acknowledge our own contact with the earth that supports us. Who knows it just may awaken something that is being suppressed?

in reply to Cooper27


I eat a clean food diet, lots of fruit, vegetables, nuts, lentils, & dairy in the form of kefir, moderate amounts of cheese & starches, & limit anything processed, salty, or artificially sweetened.

I'm vegetarian & don't find eating healthy difficult at all!

I find it difficult eating out of buying snacks. Specially vegan snacks that are not loaded with sugar or oil.

I always carry a small pot of nuts in my bag, & usually a piece of fruit, then I don't have to worry about looking for something to eat, or get tempted by anything less healthy. I also have something like a 9 bar or Nakd bar, in case the nuts & fruit aren't enough, though they usually end up squashed. A tin of real liquorice staves off sugar cravings, though if I do have to buy something out, I get 70% cocoa chocolate, which seems to be readily available these days.

I think in my case things are more complex than that: nuts are too oily for me (I do prepare toasted seeds as a snack sometimes) and fruit has got sugar. It works for some people, not for me. And nakd bars are just oil and sugar (nuts+dried fruits mashed). I tend to prepare food before I get out of the house, but what frustrates me (and motivates me to do something big about it) is that, if I don't, there are not many healthy wholegrain snacks. Las week I found a pea and rice patty (which it may have been fried, and not very cheap but the best finding so far!). All the other vegan snacks are flour-based, another thing that causes excess and mucus in the body.

Cocoa comes from a tropical climate, with cooling/dispersing effects, so I tend to avoid it. 

I change my diet between summer & winter, & have done so for >30 years before studying TCM, including the Chinese views on food as medicine. Every culture has what they consider healthy, but genetics & availability make everyone different in what they like & what their bodies tolerate.

I eat functional foods that suit me, & my digestive system. I avoid eating out unless I know there are places I can go to that serve the type & quality of food I eat at home. Rarely, I will attend a social event or be caught in a situation where there's a need to eat something I consider bad for me. Occasionally I'll get lucky in finding restaurants that serve something different or better than I make, which is a very nice surprise. 

I don't understand, given your dietary restrictions & preferences, why you go out unprepared for this, then complain about unhealthy options.

Friends' who follow a gluten free or vegan diet check what they can eat before they go somewhere. As I've mentioned, I always go out with something to fall back on, so I don't have to buy something unhealthy. Forewarned is forearmed!

I try my best to be prepared, but I wish there was something available just in case! The project I'm working on at the moment will hopefully help people to see a wider range of choices, and that's why I started this thread, to check if others are also concerned about the lack of "healthy options" out there. I think it's important that there are options around and people are not pushed to think that eating and living healthily required too much hard work. Of course, a healthy lifestyle requires being in tune with your own balance, and that means making an effort to pay attetion to your needs (and, as you mention, changing your diet with the seasons), but a bit of support from the outside can make things much more appealing.

I know what you mean.  I rarely buy snacks because they are so full of sugars, sugar replacements, omega 6 veg oils, salts or various chemicals of a questionable nature.

Salt per se doesn't bother me, my diet is so low in the stuff a good smattering is not going to do me any harm but they put so much in that you often can't taste the food for it.  Some of the chemicals are down to labelling requirements with natural ingredients identified by their chemical names or e numbers - like curcumin is E100 or E290 is carbon dioxide but who, seriously, wants to put some of these others in our kids bellies.  Nor do I particularly want them to have a heart attack brought on by raised levels of omega 6, fatty liver disease from too much of the fructose element of sugar, diabetes from the glucose element or big butts from over-eating after drinking sweeteners. 

Even so, so called 'healthy' foods can often turn out to be just as bad if not worse than standard ones.  Not only that but they carry a higher price tag meaning that we are paying through the nose for producers to ruin our health.

Part of the problem stems from government regulations on standardisation and the requirement to be shelf stable.  Part of it comes from ignorance.  But, to my mind, a lot of it comes from greed on the part of the producer, though the buyer is as much to blame for the pressure his expectation of something for nothing puts on the market.  That said, there is still so much ignorance over the impact of what we put in our mouths has on our well-being, the 'man on the street' is always going to be ruled by the content of his wallet and 50 years of soaking up bad dietary advice.

Necessary as they might be I think that you are looking at a very niche market for truly healthy options.

With regards to the niche market, I agree that it looks like that, but people need to be shown that simple ingredients can make good meals and snack alternatives. I got my project together, I've been testing the market and now I've got a proposal online (anyone can vote for it) 

The main problem I had is that I cannot call my food "healthy" because of the misleading tags that go around. So I call it...yin-yang balance or "vegan-gluten-free-no-refined-sugar-no-nightshade-macrobiotics" but what I want is not to name it, is people to put it to the test and try it!

Same. Unsalted mixed nuts and fruit which I find very enjoyable and filling.

I would be careful about liquroice and keep it to a minimum as it is reported to cause high blood pressure. I find nuts and fruit sufficient to avoid any need for sugar at all.

I get about 26% of my protein from nuts, & rely on brazils for selenium.

My blood pressure is low or very low, so I've no need to worry about that, thanks. Liquorice is also excellent for curbing sugar cravings, which I used to be prone to. It's a commonly prescribed herbal & TCM medicine, & one I find beneficial for me.

linlow profile image
linlow in reply to BadHare

it also contains 2 chemicals that fight against tooth decay and cavities - to which purpose the chewed fibre end makes an excellent toothbrush.

The important thing to remember is to avoid sugars.  These have a harmful effect on the body when digestion breaks their constituent parts down into glucose and fructose.  Glucose is good (apart from too much), fructose is bad (leads to fatty liver disease).  All carbohydrates break down into sugars.

It's true that all carbohydrates are chains of sugars and will eventually turn into glucose in the body, but it's not the same eating them from whole grains and beans than from refined products, sweeteners or fruit.The latter I would eat in moderation, as the saying goes "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". It doesn't say that apples are the panacea and that should be your staple (it says "an apple", not the juice equivalent of 10). And most important, it doesn't say anything about the way it is eaten. Is it raw or cooked, baked, poached, fried? Different ways of cooking have extremely different effects!

An excellent point.  Complex carbohydrates are slower to break down than processed ones so release their sugars more slowly, however they do still release sugars.  That said, the point I was trying to make is that it is the fructose element of sugars that harms our health - the glucose created from carbs just harms our hip size.

In addition to added sugars, it is surprising just how many other foods contain fructose  As with complex carbohydrates, in their natural form our systems can cope providing they make up only a small proportion of the diet.

I recall the 'an apple a day...' saying from my youth but we had another line tacked on the end 'but eating it invites the dentist to play' because they were warning about the effect sugars in fruit have on our teeth even then (and possibly trying to encourage kids to brush their teeth).  I'm not sure if they had worked out the fructose cycle at that point.

Thanks for posting the fructose comparison tables. However, I find it misleading that they use different amounts (like a whole cabbage, looking high in fructose, versus a "cup of shreaded" something); to me it would have been easier to read using the same amount (100g, a percentage).

I also think that the amount of fibre and other nutrients is different in each type of vegetable/fruit. The fibre, pigments, phytonutrients, etc. is not considered. That is why I don't particularly trust the "warnings" of a product being "very high on x", because if it's a whole product, it probably has got something else on it that helps digesting and absorbing that high amount of x.

What I am quite interested about is the quality of the food, not the ingredients per se (I like to know, but I only use it rarely). What I mean by quality of food is basically their qualities such as where are they from, under what stress were they grown (irrigation, fake lights, pesticides, poor soil, etc.) and intrinsic qualities. I have been trying to understand why I feel certain effects with certain foods that matches the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Macrobiotics. Why do roots make you more "grounded" and green leaves and shoots more "uplifted".

I remember when I was studying Biology and they talked about geotropism (movement towards the earth/soil). Roots have more positive geotropism and shoots more negative geotropism. That is another quality/characteristic of what we are eating, that we don't know how to take into account, but somehow I can feel a difference.

Of course, the cooking style also had an effect, but I wonder if anyone else has questioned that or taken it into account.

And how available is that? :/ 

So...make meals yourself. Ready-made tends to add sauce, salt and sugar to add flavour. You can pay less and do this yourself if you cook and use herbs and spices. Pulses are a great option and very filling. You can batch make food and freeze it as well, if you need something quick.

I would be loathed to value everything as unhealthy. Our bodies need fat, so there is no harm in eating cheese. Just don't eat a whole block of it.

Same for carbs, and "unhealthy" snacks. Nothing wrong with a chocolate bar, it's when it becomes a regular habit. Would suggest buying fresh fruit for a snack, or crudités and hummus etc. (yes I know hummus is "fattening" but it contains healthy fat and protein).

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