Ready meals or convenience meals as they are known, are tasty and need no preparation time. With our lives getting busier, cooking from scratch is often difficult and so we look to convenience meals for nutrition and taste. However ready meals often come with increased levels of sugar, salt, trans saturated fats, food additives etc.,
Let us look at some of the reasons ready meals may not be good for you:
1. Excess salt
Excess salt is a known cause for heart ailments and according to the WHO it causes 57% of heart attacks and 40% of stroke cases. The WHO also recommends less than 5 grams per day of salt in our daily diet but in ready meals the amount of salt is often much higher and a cause of worry.
2. Synthetic vitamins and minerals
Due to the number of processes ready meals go through before they finally end up on a supermarket shelf, they often lose much of their nutritional value and are devoid of sufficient quantities of essential vitamins and minerals. This would not seem good to consumers and so manufacturers pump in artificial vitamins and minerals in the packaged food which are inferior in many ways to nutrients found in whole foods.
3. Food Additives and preservatives
Ready meals are packed with food addtives and preservatives and that is why they can last for months and years. Many of these chemicals used as preservatives and additives are harsh on the body and are accused by many of causing hormonal imbalances, altering cell function and many more undesirable side effects. Phosphates are commonly used as food additive and food preservatives in these foods.
4. High Sugar and fat
In ready meals fat has been replaced with sugar to give it a rich taste and long shelf life, but this is very harmful as high sugar consumption can cause hypertension, diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, cancer, and damage to several organs.
Therefore we have to exercise caution while choosing convenience food over home cooked food and choose wisely what would benefit our health in the long run.