If you ever visit a supermarket, you’ll come across plenty of terms on various food packets. Some of these terms might make sense to you, but most of them are pretty unknown to regular consumers. But, if you want to enjoy a Healthy diet, you must be aware of these dietary terms and their respective functions. There are two benefits of knowing these terms. Knowing these standard terms will help you to choose the ideal food items for yourself. It will also prevent you from buying ones that can be harmful to your health.
Before making a good diet plan, make sure that you know these 15 critical dietary terms given below:
- Made With Real Food
- Omega-3 fatty acid
Now, let us know about them in detail.
‘Organic’ is one of the most used terms in the Diet Industry. These food items refer to unadulterated food items produced by natural means. For example, Organic-certified cows spend four months grazing in a pasture every year. They are grown without chemical fertilizers. Organic fruits and vegetables are usually produced using natural pesticides and fungicides. Farmers cannot treat them with synthetic fertilizers, radiation, GMOs, or sewage sludge. They have a high concentration of beneficial compounds and antioxidants. That is why, compared to regular food items, organic food items are costly. So, if you intend to go organic, it will cost you money.
Food items often contain artificial flavors and food coloring. It provides them a longer shelf life and makes them look more attractive. Some food items also contain additives in the form of artificial sweeteners. These sweeteners can cause unnecessary weight gain along with other severe health problems. Thus, if you ever come across a food item with a “no artificial additives” label, you can consider it a safe buy. According to the FDA, additives consist of unnatural ingredients. These are bad for human health. Additives might also contain natural components. Still, manufacturers choose to produce them using artificial methods. It is generally a cheaper option.
The Diet Industry is a fan of food items that has “All-Natural” on its label. But a product will not deserve a place in your cart by only boasting this label. This term “natural” is generally misinterpreted and misunderstood by most buyers. Dr. Maria-Paula Carrillo says -“the FDA seems okay with using this term if the foods do not contain added flavors.” Yet, sometimes all-natural foods are not always natural and additives-free.
If you want to make a good diet plan, you must make sure that it contains sugar-free food items. Nowadays, you’ll come across this term on biscuits, cakes, health supplements, candies. But, such food items are not as completely free of sugar as they make it sound. The products which do not contain the refined form of cane sugar are termed sugar-free. But at the same time, these products might also have other natural sweeteners. These include brown rice syrup, agave, sugar alcohol, or artificial sweeteners. Make sure that you check the sugar content of a product before buying it. Usually, the right sugar-free food will not have more than 15g of sugar per 100g.
Manufacturers often label their products as ‘functional’ to fool consumers. Food experts label certain food items as functional. It means that they have many health benefits and low-calorie content. Most whole-food items like fruits, vegetables, food grains, and likewise are functional. Packaged foods or fast foods do not fall under this category. But marketers claim that these packed ‘functional’ food items can promote your health. They say that such food items reduce the risk of various ailments. It can also enhance nutrient absorption in your body. Scientific proofs do not back most of their outstanding claims.
Probiotics are living bacteria that we consume from fermented or unpasteurized food items. They are beneficial for your health. They keep your gut healthy and improve your intestines’ functioning (1). Most live probiotics cannot survive in the harsh environment of your stomach. The FDA has not sanctioned the application of such supplements to treat health problems. Many manufacturers add probiotic strains to food items to make them more healthy. Foods like unpasteurized yogurt are excellent for your health.
They are a group of carbs, soluble fibers that can pass through the large intestine. They remain in an undigested form while making their way through your gut. The bacteria present in the lining of your stomach or the probiotics digest them (2). Prebiotics, like probiotics, promote gut health. It also keeps your appetite in check. It can regulate your body weight and lower inflammation. A Healthy diet must contain plenty of prebiotic-rich food items. Vegetables like spinach, tapioca, chicory roots are great examples of Prebiotics.
In the beginning, a food brand started this term. But now you can find this term on many things like a carton of eggs or meat products. Pasture-raised food items do not need any verification. It requires no third-party or on-farm inspection. Most “pasture-raised” products claim that they use animals reared in a natural environment. But this is not always true. Many chickens, cows, goats, etc. spend their life in pastures. At the same time, they also get supplementary grains. So if you want to buy 100% ‘grass-fed’ animal products, you have to look for verified manufacturers.
Superfood is usually used with an image of blueberry in tights and capes. The picture of a berry fighting various dietary evils proves to be useful imagery. Superfoods are nutrient-rich food items. It contains plenty of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (3). These food items have the power to cure deadly diseases. It can also restrict the initial onset of various health risks. It can help you to raise your body’s immunity. You can include blueberries, strawberries, chia seeds to your Healthy diet plan. This will allow you to enjoy a wide range of benefits.
If you’re health-conscious, then you know what gluten is. In recent times gluten-free food items have flooded supermarkets. These food items sell out faster than the latest iPhone models. Gluten is the term used for storage proteins found in grains. Thus these proteins help food items to maintain their shape. It helps them to stay fluffy for an extended period. By removing gluten from your diet, you’ll cut down on your fat consumption. You will also be capable of losing more weight without much hassle. Suppose you do not have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. In that case, you can indulge in a gluten-free Healthy diet and enjoy its benefits (4).
GMO or Genetically Modified Organisms, and in the last couple of years, has become a used term. But, most buyers do not realize what it means. Suppose you buy a food packet that has ‘ GMO-Free’ or ‘Non-GMO’ written on it. In that case, it means that the ingredients used in making that item are natural. Although there is no proof that GMO possesses any health risk, it is better to stay away. Pesticide-resistant GMO crops contain harmful pesticides because farmers spray them without any consideration. Such crops can lead to carcinogenic developments in your body. It can also hamper your usual genetic makeup (5). If you want to have a Healthy diet, then it must contain GMO-free food items.
Made With Real Fruit
Many organic fruit juices and gummies have this term on their labels. But that doesn’t make them more nutritious than real fresh fruits. Most of the time, it’s fruit juice concentrates. They do not have all the benefits of the whole fruit. Fruit concentrates also contain high amounts of fructose. Unlike glucose, your body uses fructose to produce body fat and inflammatory compounds. Thus it can cause more harm than benefit. Before buying any food item labeled-‘ made with real sugar,’ always check its sugar content. Your Healthy diet must not contain too many concentrate-rich food items. It can harm your health instead of doing any benefit.
Omega-3 fatty acid
The omega-3 fatty acid is a type of healthy fat that is good for your heart and brain. It helps in reducing severe inflammation. It can help you to manage high cholesterol, arthritis, and uncontrollable hunger. It also minimizes the risk of diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer’s. Omega-3s fatty acids and are usually present in a liquid form at room temperature. It is generally available in 11 different ways. Still, out of them, only 3 -EPA, fish-based DHA, and plant-based ALA- are essential for the human body. It is generally present in oily fishes like Salmon, Herring. Fish oils, nuts like almonds, and green leafy vegetables also contain fatty acids.
You’ll notice the term multigrain on various packaged food items. It is a common sight on several kinds of cereal, oat-meals. Although companies use this term quite often, it might not be as credible as it always sounds. In simple terms, multigrain refers to the different types of grains present in a single food item. Manufacturers often used colored food dyes to distinguish other grains in a product. So if you buy a pack of multigrain Cheerios, you’ll see that the contents of the box are pretty colorful. This is because it comprises diverse types of healthy grains. But the artificial flavors and colors often reduce the food value.
An antioxidant is a common term you’ll see in many places- be it on health drinks or cereal boxes. Antioxidants are good for your health. If you’re in the diet industry, you must know how it functions. Antioxidants are compounds that act like the body’s defense system. It protects your body from various disease-causing germs and free radicals. Antioxidants create a barrier against free radicals. They can damage body cells and DNA and increase cancer risk. It is best to rely on fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables. It will always be better than packaged antioxidant-rich food.
If you know these healthy diet terms well enough, it will be easy for you to choose your food items. Many times, companies add such names to food packets to deceive unknowing consumers. Always go through the ingredient list to know that you’re feeding healthy food to your system.