Your Life, Fast Food And Nutrition
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines Nutrition as process by which elements in food are transformed into body tissues and provide energy for the full range of physical and mental activities that make up human life. The ultimate goal of nutrition is to promote optimal health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Ayurveda, the 5000-year-old medical system of India, states that poor nutrition is the main cause of disease. This system uses food to heal and prevent illness. Complete nutrition has been always a highlight of traditional Indian meals which was designed perfectly suitable to places, individual lifestyle and seasonal crops.
However with the course of time, as people are approaching cities for their living, their choice of bread and butter is changing. Today’s city food significantly lacks in nutrients. The food choices people make including their children are high in carbohydrates and fats and very low in other essential nutrients and are essentially governed by taste and not nutrition.
Instant food is scoring over traditional food due to influence of Western countries, and rise in income & subsequent standard of living, convenience, etc. As a result, fast food menus are gaining wider acceptance from the Indians. Currently the growth of fast food industry during 2011-2014 is expected to be more than 30% driven by a growing number of working professionals and increasing westernization. Apart from this, busy life schedule, standardized food, and less time, consuming processes are also fuelling the demand in the industry. As demand for all types of fast food items are consistently on the rise, pizza, burger, and French fries have become the all-time favorite among young Indians.
About 86 per cent of households prefer to consume instant food over traditional food due to steep rise in dual income level & standard of living, convenience and influence of Western countries. Demand for these food items are growing as people with hectic lifestyles do not want to spend much time in cooking.
People are consuming more and more empty calories. An empty calorie has the same energy content as any other calorie but lacks many accompanying nutrients such as vitamins, dietary minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, or dietary fiber.
Is there any surprises, why more and more Indians are getting diagnosed with non communicable disease?
So How to select foods what body needs?
Which food is good for body?
To answer in single sentence, select food that completes your body’s nutritional requirements.
You may feel, this a generalized statement. Yes, it is. For the reason, every individual is specially created by god and is different than others. It is very difficult to standardize a common requirement of nutrients for his/her optimal health definition.
What are nutrients?
Nutrients are the nutritious components in foods that animals utilize to survive and grow. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes, and are converted to and used for energy. Nutrients are categorized in to two types.
- Macronutrients and
Macronutrients provide the bulk energy for an organism’s metabolic system to function, and are required in larger amounts such as water, proteins, dietary fiber, carbohydrates and fats.
While micronutrients provide the necessary cofactors for metabolism to be carried out and are required in small quantities such as vitamins (Vitamin A, Vitamin B group, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E) and minerals (calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, chromium, iron, copper, molybdenum, zinc, selenium etc.)
How much nutrients my body needs?
There are two limits of nutrients which you should consider while designing your healthy diet.
- Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) and
- Optimum Daily Allowance (ODA)
Lower limit is also called as RDA which you must take through diet or food supplements to ensure that you do not develop any deficiency disease.
ODA of nutrients is the highest tolerable intake your body can cope without any side effects.
For an individual to attain optimal health, his/her values of daily nutrients intake shall be between RDA and ODA to prevent diseases such as aging, heart disease or cancer.
Now to choose fast food or to choose nutritious food is the battle between with your tongue and your mind. Whoever wins the battle, you are going to get result. That is for sure!