New Internationalist

Making A Meal Of It

Issue 135

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THE FOOD INDUSTRY [image, unknown] Healthy eating?

[image, unknown]

Making a meal of it
You, of course, would never dream of sitting down to a meal like this. Usually you eat only organically-grown brown rice, certified pesticide-free fresh fruit and vegetables, with an occasional sprinkling of sunflower seeds and free-range goat’s yoghurt, all washed down with pure spring water. But on those rare occasions when you are forced to stay in a town without a wholefood co-operative stall, when you cannot avoid dining at a less nutritionally-enlightened friend’s house, when you have to grab a bite to eat at a cafe while waiting for a train, or if you should lose your $20,000 a year job, then you might well find yourself tucking - distastefully - into some of the food spread out on the table below. Well, here is what you are really eating.

[image, unknown] BACON
Pork (including 41% saturated fat classified as meat in the UK); water (39%); salt preservatives (sodium nitrate (E251); potassium nitrate (E252); sodium nitrite (E250) - all become nitrosamines when digested, linked with cancer and birth defects); antioxidant (sodium- L-ascorbate (E301 )); sodium level - 950mg; cholesterol - 55mg; calories - 275.

EGG
Water (63%); fat (11%); sodium level - 140mg; cholesterol - 450mg; calories - 147.

TOMATO
Water (87%); fibre (3%); sodium level - 1 mg; calories - 7; tomatoes also contain up to 326 ppm of bromide fungicide residue. Bromides have not yet been tested for toxicity in humans.

SAUSAGE
Pork (40% including 28% saturated fat classified as meat in the UK); water (56%); rusks; wheat flour; soya protein isolate; salt; spices; acidity regulators (disodium dihydrogen diphosphate (E450a); tetrasodium diphosphate (E450b); orthophosphoric acid (E338)); stabilisers; preservative; flavour enhancer (monosodium glutamate - linked to cancer in rats, allergic reaction, brain damage, birth defects, depression); antioxidant; colour (Red 2G); sodium level - 630mg; cholesterol - 42mg; calories - 269.

PORK CHOP
Water (54%); pork (including 30% saturated fat); sodium level - 50mg; cholesterol - 110mg; calories - 482.

INSTANT MASHED POTATO (made up as directed)
Water (80%); potato (including 3.6% fibre); skimmed milk powder; salt; emulsifier (monoand di-glycerides of fatty acids (E47 1 )); acidity regulator (disodium dihydrogen diphosphate (E450a)); preservative (sodium metabisuiphate (E223) - interferes with absorption of vitamins A and B and calcium, becomes poisonous when eaten with unsaturated fat, linked with changes in the intestine); vitamin C; antioxidant (butylated hydroxytoluene (E321) - linked with infertility and miscarriage, cancer of lung, liver, stomach and ovary, especially when eaten with nitrates and nitrites, changes in blood and behaviour, possible protection against stomach cancer); sodium level - 260mg; calones - 70.

If you use real potato, watch out for tecnozene pesticide residue. Peeling and washing still leaves an amount close to World Health Organisation/Food and Agriculture Organisation limit. But using instant potatoes won’t protect you either.

BUTTER
(28 gm used for frying egg and as garnish on potato) saturated fat (82%); water (15.4%); salt; sodium level - 217mg; cholesterol - 60mg; calories - 185. UK butter also contains dangerous levels of dieldrin pesticide residue, a cancer-causing substance banned in the US.

WHITE BREAD
Wheat flour; water (39%); yeast; salt; soya flour; preservatives (propionic acid (E280); sodium propionate (E281) - linked to migraine; calcium propionate (E282)); vegetable fat sodium level - 200mg; calories - 84.

One quarter of UK wheat and two thirds of US wheat are contaminated with carbontetrachiorides, which are acute liver poisons and suspected to cause cancer. There is no safe level for these chemicals. Between 30% and 60% of pesticides used on wheat survive milling and baking. Residues of pirimphos methyl, chlorpyifos methyl and malathion often exceed recommended WHO/FAQ limits. Because brown bread includes more of the wheat, it contains more dangerous chemical residues.

LOW FAT SPREAD
Water (57%); buttermilk. vegetable oil; hydrogenated vegetable oil (unsaturated vegetable oil becomes saturated when hydrogenated; total fat content of low fat spread is 41%); milk protein; salt acidity regulators (sodium lactate (E325); sodium dihydrogen citrate (E33 1); sodium dihydrogen orthophosphate (E339)); emulsifier (mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids (E47 1)); preservative (potassium sorbate (E202)); flavouring; vitamins A and D; colour (alphacarotene, beta- carotene, gamma-carotene (El 60a)); sodium level - 86mg; calories - 46.

ICE CREAM
Water (64%); concentrated skimmed milk; sugar and glucose syrup (23%); hydrogenated vegetable oil (unsaturated oil becomes saturated fat when hydrogenated); whey solids; egg; emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (E471 )); stabilisers (sodium alginate (E401); sodium dihydrogen orthophosphate (E339); carboxymethylcellulose (E466); sodium salt; colour (tartrazine (El 02) - linked with allergic reaction and asthma; sunset yellow FCF and orange yellow S (El 10) - linked with allergic reactions, damage to urinary system, banned in the US; ponceau 4R or cochineal red A); vanilla extract flavouring; sodium level - 80mg; cholesterol - 21 mg; calories - 1 67.

TINNED PINEAPPLE
Pineapple (including 0.9% fibre and 77% water); clarified pineapple juice; sugar (20%); sodium level - 1 mg; calories - 77.

COLA
Water (90%); sugar (10%); colour (caramel (E150) - linked with neurological disorders and effects on immunity system); flavouring; orthophosphoric acid; preservative (sodium benzoate (E211) - linked with neurological disorders, allergic reaction and asthma); caffeine (linked to birth defects, addictive); sodium level - 26mg; calories - 129 per can.

The bottom line...

Total sodium level: 2.64gm Recommended daily maximum: 5gm

Total cholesterol: 738mg Recommended daily maximum: 300mg (men) and 225mg (women)

Total calories: 1,938 Recommended daily intake: 3,000 (men) and 2,200 (women) This meal comprises practically all the calories needed in one day by the average woman.

Fibre: practically non-existant Recommended daily minimum: 30gm

Fat: approximately 50 per cent of the calories in this meal from from fat - mostly animal fat - compared with a recommended percentage on just 30 per cent.

If you don’t feel too ill after reading this, turn back to 'Stayin' alive' to discover what this kind of food is doing to your health.


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