Top Food Brands Not Disclosing Real Contents of their Products

Every food product manufacturer has to print the nutritional value of a particular packaged food product. This information enables the consumer to control his diet by making healthy choices. In general, we tend to choose branded products especially when it comes to food. We completely rely on the information provided by the companies regarding the nutritional value of the product. Seems like this kind of over expectation and unlimited trust on the brands is helping them fool consumers.

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi based NGO, recently found that top food brands are hiding the harmful effects of the food products by not mentioning the ingredients promptly on the package. They particularly pointed out the junk food brands which claim that their food contained zero trans-fats even though tests showed that they have heavy doses of it.

High Levels of Trans fat + Sugar + Salt = Obesity, Diabetes

CSE tested different food products such as potato chips, aloo bhujia, noodles, soft drinks, burgers, French fries and fried chicken from 16 leading food brands like Maggi, Top Ramen noodles, Nestle, PepsiCo, McDonald’s, KFC, etc., and found that they contain very high levels of trans fats, salt and sugar. Despite not being zero trans-fat, the products from those companies have far higher levels than the recommended levels that were set as bench marks by The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Trans-fats clog arteries when consumed in the higher amounts get deposited on the walls of the arteries making the passage narrower resulting in heart diseases even at the young ages. Consuming higher amounts of salt and sugar increases the chances of high blood pressure and diabetes respectively in a long run.

Zero trans-fat = 0.7 – 3.7 gram trans fat

Top Ramen Super Noodles claims zero trans-fat but the research found 0.7 grams of trans fats per 100 grams. Similarly Lays potato chips 100 gm pack was found to have 3.7 grams of trans fats, although the company says it contains none.

WHO says that in a balanced diet, 1% of total energy should come from trans fats. Therefore, an adult can have 2.6 – 2.8 grams of trans fats per day, while a child (10-12 years) can have 2.3 gram.

Rs. 10 Maggi noodles pack gives 60% of salt required per day

According to NIN, the maximum amount of salt required for one person, per day is 6 grams. If he consumes a 80-gram package of Maggi noodles, it gives him 3.5 grams of salt, which is more than 60% of the daily recommended amount.

Mismatch in Nutritional Information

Another significant concern raised by CSE is the mismatch in the nutritional content in India and US by same brands. For instance, Mc Donalds in its US website gives information on 22 nutritional attributes, whereas in India it provides only on 6 attributes. Unlike in the U.S., it provides no information on the trans fats. Similarly KFC’s US website provides info about 12 nutritional components while KFC’s India website provides info only on four such components.

Source: India Today

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