Responsible consumption: Five tips to learn to buy wisely | Alterconsumismo | Future Planet

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An island from a supermarket.
An island from a supermarket.SIRAPHOL S.

Poor diet is one of the most serious problems facing our society. Food, which should be a source of life, has become a risk to human health. According to a study published by The Lancet, it is estimated that each year 11 million people die due to poor quality of diet.

To this is added the problem of the sustainability of intensive livestock: the production and consumption of meat is one of the main responsible for the climate crisis (according to FAO, the livestock sector is the cause globally of 14.5 % of greenhouse gas emissions). Given these less than encouraging data in 2019, a study by the EAT-Lancet Commission was published, with the aim of planning a healthy diet, compatible with sustainable food production.

The conclusions of this study are clear. Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes will need to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will need to be reduced by more than 50%. A diet rich in foods of plant origin and with less foods of animal origin confers good health and environmental benefits.

We are ignorant consumers who pay to get sick and who increasingly do it at a younger age

How many diseases are we willing to take to preserve the monetary benefits of the food industry? The little time we spend shopping, the lack of clarity in the labeling of products and the increase in ultra-processed foods, make us ignorant consumers who pay to get sick and who increasingly do so at a younger age.

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For this reason, it is increasingly important to learn to consume wisely, without being fooled by the food industry and its “100% natural” or “iron-rich” products. Do we really know what to add to the shopping cart? How much salt or sugar does each product have in disguise? What additives are harmful to our health and what are the origin of various diseases?

1. Spend time shopping. The first and main advice is that of spend time shopping. Reading the labels and looking at the ingredients of each edible product that we put in the basket will make us able to recognize which products are really healthy and which are not. Legislation requires the most abundant ingredient to be the first to appear on the label. As a recommendation, go for products whose ingredients are easy for you to understand and avoid taking home unfamiliar names like fatty acid diglycerides. Also, that they do not exceed the daily consumption of salt and sugar per hundred per day (1.25 g out of 100 in the case of salt and 50 g in the case of sugar).

Reading the labels and looking at the ingredients of each edible product that we put in the basket will make us able to recognize which products are really healthy and which are not.

The packaging is nothing more than an advertising claim, with endorsements from scientific societies that do not guarantee by any means that this product meets healthy standards.At the same time, we must avoid those additives that are harmful to health such as monosodium glutamate (MSG). ), artificial sweeteners, trans fats, or sulfur dioxide, among others.

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2. Buy in local markets. Many of its products come from nearby areas and have an optimal state of freshness and ripeness. In addition, you will be helping your neighbors and will buy the product at a lower price.

3. Invest in fruits and vegetables that are in season. On the other hand, we have to highlight the importance of buying fruits and vegetables in season. Most “fresh” supermarket products are imported from other countries, produced throughout the year in greenhouses and treated with preservatives and additives to last longer.

4. Be careful with the container. Another way to shop smart is by looking at the packaging. It will always be better to buy food that comes in glass jars, than to abuse canned food. Many metal cans are coated with a chemical called Bisphenol A that prevents oxidation, but can also cause heart disease, diabetes or erectile dysfunction.

Another way to shop smart is by looking at the packaging. It will always be better to buy food that comes in glass jars, than to abuse canned food

5. Less meat. Finally, reducing the consumption of meat (especially beef) is essential to improve sustainability, as well as our health. Consuming more vegetable protein than animal protein will help us lead a healthier life. Another of the foods that can not be missing in our diet are vegetables, preferably raw and dark green, and whole grains.

In short, we are not talking about banning food, if not about adding best practices when going to the supermarket. It is about providing knowledge so that the consumer knows what they are buying without falling into the deceptions of the food industry marketing.

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With this knowledge and the help of government laws, such as restricting the advertising to minors of chocolates, sweets, desserts, cookies, juices and ice creams, we will be able to abandon that path of no return to the pharmacy and become conscious consumers.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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