Can Drinking Soda Really Kill You?

A lot of conflicting studies have been done to ascertain if drinking soda can lead to premature death. Some studies have concluded on the affirmative, while others have refuted the claims. Those on the affirmative say soda consumption is associated with diseases like stroke, cognitive degradation, asthma, and hypertension.

Those contradicting say that most of the studies done are observational other than experimental and therefore cannot be purely relied upon. Today, we will take a deeper look into these claims.

A study by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

The university collaborated with Colombia University to study if drinking soda was related in any way to vascular diseases. Some people believe that sugary soft drinks are food for good mood, but the study had different findings. The findings were that soda carries a higher risk of heart diseases like stroke, heart attack, and death.

The subjects in the study were 2,500 men and the study period was ten years. Those who drank soda daily, according to the study, had a 43 percent more likelihood of getting heart disease, unlike those who drank soda once in a while.

According to https://essay-reviewer.com/college-paper-org-review/, other drinks included in the study were Gatorade, Coke, flavored water, and lemonade. They found out that people who drank over a half-liter of the drinks daily had a higher chance of contracting asthma. The researchers concluded that soft drinks increased the chances of heart diseases.

JAMA International Medicine report

Recently, a study was published in the JAMA journal, and its finding was even scarier. In the report, a person who drinks two glasses of sweetened drinks daily is more likely to die prematurely by 17%. Despite the scary report, some health professionals have a different opinion.

According to Bonnie Liebman, a director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, most of the reports are from observational studies and cannot really pinpoint if the death was a result of consuming the drinks or another underlying factor.

Research by Harvard University

In other research done by Harvard University, sweetened drinks increase a person’s risk of getting diabetes, interrupt metabolism, and can lead to premature death. The data was collected from about 100,000 participants who submitted their daily diet intake.

Looking into the way forward

The above studies are just part of the many studies done by various institutions on this subject, and although most of their findings are on one hand agreeing, there are, on the other hand, many contracting findings. According to Healthy Food America, two-thirds of Americans consume sugary drinks daily.

Sugary drinks are categorized as ultra-processed food that has higher health risks than any other type of food. Healthy Food America further observes that when consolidated, each person in the US consumes 50 gallons of sugary drinks per annum.

This is approximately 190 liters of sugary drinks every year. Looking at both the affirming and contradicting reports, most nutritionists and health experts agree the only way out is to take health precautions.

The right steps to take

Whether you affirm soft drinks have many health risks or refute the claim, these steps will help keep you healthier.

Take a lot of water

Water has many benefits to the body, and if you take the recommended daily quantity, it will help balance toxins in your body. Do not go for sweetened water and instead buy ordinary mineral water or boil your drinking water at home.

Some of the benefits of drinking water are regulating temperature in the body, helping in the creation of saliva, protects body tissues, backbone, and joints. Water is also useful in the excretion, urination, and defecation processes. It protects you from constipation and helps improve skin texture.

Limit or keep off all types of soda

Soda manufacturers are very active in advertising and portray the drinks as refreshing, stylish and some as having zero sugar. Tests were done on different brands of soda and their sugar quantity showed that one bottle of soda is between 300 – 500 times sweeter compared to an ordinary cup of tea or coffee.

Some nutritionists say it’s like adding more than 300 cubes of sugar to your mug of tea or coffee. The fact is that the zero calories advertisement is false and it’s only aimed to increase sales. Diet soft drinks also contain other chemicals like preservatives, carbon, and aspartame. Some of these chemicals are linked to cancer of the blood and lymphoma cancer.

There are several other options you can turn to instead of diet soft drinks but if you must take coke or another type of soda, limit yourself to at least once a week or further apart.

Sugary drinks should never be found on your menu

Studies on the risks of consuming soft drinks have given scary results. One such report is contained in the Circulation journal on a study that involved men and women. Each would consume a certain amount of sweetened soft drink for a certain period.

The study concluded that sweetened soft drinks increase the risk of early death by 7%. Cancer risk was at 5% and heart diseases at 10%. The report also found that the drinks were responsible for increased body weight and thus had the potential to cause diabetes.

The carbon dioxide in the soft drinks makes an individual feel hungrier and, in turn, eat more and add weight. The report recommended that the solution is to avoid all sugary soft drinks and go for sugarless drinks like fresh fruit juice, tea/coffee without sugar, or coconut water.

These are fresh drinks that have many health benefits like detoxification, improved metabolism, and adding minerals into the body. A person who takes fresh fruit juices will less likely get heart diseases, diabetes, and they are less vulnerable to cancer cells.

Conclusion

Many studies have been done to find out whether drinking soda increases the possibility of early death. Varying conclusions and findings have been made and some affirm the claim while others refute it. However, one finding has been consistent in all the reports- that sweetened soft drinks have far-reaching health risks to the human body. Most of the reports also recommend that despite the affirming or refuting reports, an individual is much safer if he or she avoids consuming sweetened soft drinks altogether.

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FOOD AND SUPPLEMENTS FOR DOG’S HEALTH

 

Just like humans, dogs need food to survive. Thanks to commercially sold dog food, you do not have to look too far or work too hard to get something for your furry friend. But is commercially sold dog food nutritious enough for your dog? Yes, these foods have the needed nutritional balance to keep your pet healthy. However, you can also make home-based food for your dog that is just as healthy.

What about supplements? Do dogs need supplements in their diet? Well, yes. Turns out supplements can help to boost your dog’s health. They can also help manage health issues that dogs face, such as joint pains, coat issues, weight loss, gastrointestinal problems, inflammation, and cognitive disorders.

Healthy Food for Dogs

While many people foods are safe for dogs, they should generally only eat in them moderation.

Human foods that are safe for dogs include:

White rice

Cooked, plain white rice can be a good option for a dog with an upset stomach, as it is easy to digest and helps bind stool.

White rice can cause blood sugar levels to rise, however, so dogs with  diabetes should only eat it in small amounts.

Dairy products

Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and plain yogurt, are safe for dogs to have in very small quantities.

Eating too much dairy can cause digestive problems. This is because dogs have low levels of lactase, a digestive enzyme that breaks down the sugars in milk.

Dogs with lactose intolerance should not eat dairy products. Signs of lactose intolerances include diarrhea or vomiting after consuming anything that contains dairy.

Fish

Salmon, shrimp, and tuna are all safe for dogs to eat and good sources of protein.

Salmon and tuna are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help keep a dog’s immune system, coat, and skin healthy.

The B vitamins in shrimp can also help maintain a dog’s digestive system and promote healthy blood circulation.

It is important to cook fish before feeding it to a dog, as uncooked fish can contain harmful parasites.

Chicken

Plain, boiled chicken with no seasoning is a good option when a dog has an upset stomach.

Plain popcorn

Plain popcorn, without salt, butter, or sugar, can be a nutritional treat for dogs.

Popcorn contains minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, which are all important for keeping dogs healthy.

Make sure dogs do not eat any unpopped popcorn kernels, as this could cause them to choke.

Pork

Unseasoned, cooked pork is safe for dogs to eat.

However, they should only consume small portions of pork, as the high fat content is hard for dogs to digest, and it can cause  inflammation and  pancreatitis.

Refrain from feeding dogs bacon or processed ham, due to the high salt contents.

Turkey

Cooked turkey is safe for dogs to eat, but it should be plain and unseasoned. Many commercial dog foods contain turkey, as it is a good source of protein.

Before giving cooked turkey to a dog, remove the fat first. Too much fat can cause pancreas issues in dogs.

Bananas

Dogs can eat bananas in moderation. They are full of magnesium, which is important for good bone health.

Due to their high sugar content, bananas should only be an occasional treat for dogs.

These foods will help keep your dog healthy and jumpy.

What about Supplements?

Supplements can contribute positively to your dog’s overall health. However, there is very little research to prove that supplements actually work in dogs. That is why pet owners are advised to take the whole “supplements for dogs” rage with a pinch of salt. As much as it may sound brilliant and perhaps too common, it wouldn’t hurt to learn a few things first;

  • Talk to your dog’s veterinarian first before administering any supplement. Different dogs have different needs and excessive amounts of certain vitamins and supplements can hurt your dog. Too much calcium for example may trouble your dog’s skeletal tissues. If your dog is on other medications, supplements may interact harmfully with them.
  • Go for supplements from brands that specialize in a certain area or have licensed clinical studies of their supplements and vitamins.
  • Brands that emphasize quality control are a good choice. Check if they have a lot number.

That said, here are some proven supplements that can greatly benefit your dog.

  1. Glucosamine

Glucosamine is found naturally in cartilage and provides support for joints and bones. The right amount of this supplement can help repair and strengthen your dog’s joints and bones. It is also given to dogs with osteoarthritis to help alleviate the pain in joints. It’s not yet proven whether this supplement works on all dogs.

  1. Turmeric for Dogs

There is a chance that you already have turmeric spice in your kitchen cabinet. Did you know that this spice is healthy for your dog? Well, not necessarily your cooking spice, but there is a Turmeric for dogs supplement that has curcumin which is a compound that helps to reduce inflammation. Turmeric is also known to reduce itchiness in the dog’s skin.

  1. Vitamin C

We all know how incredible vitamin C can be in boosting your immunity. Turns out it’s also a powerful antioxidant with tons of health benefits for your dog. Vitamin C can help aging dogs with memory problems.

  1. Chondroitin

This one works in a similar way as the glucosamine supplement. It’s known to improve joint health in dogs and prevent inflammation. You can also give it to your dog to prevent injury and improve mobility.

  1. Fish Oil Supplements

Fish oil supplements are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These help to improve your animal’s fur quality. It also helps to reduce the itchiness in your dog’s skin – finally something to stop the incessant paw-stabbing.

Human Foods That Are Dangerous for Your Dog

While we consider dogs to be members of our family, feeding them the same food we eat can cause injury to them. Dogs are not used to eating the oily, fatty foods that we do, and they can get diarrhea and upset stomachs from them. It’s important to know what foods are toxic to dogs and avoid them.

Chocolate and Caffeine

It’s a pretty well-known fact that chocolate is harmful to dogs. Unlike their feline friends, most dogs don’t have an “off” button when it comes to finding food. The amount and type of chocolate your dog consumes determines the symptoms and toxicity level he will experience. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort, lethargy, muscle tremors, irregular heartbeat, high body temperature, seizures and death. The darker the chocolate is (for instance, baker’s chocolate or cocoa powder), the more dangerous it is to your puppy. They contain a higher concentration of caffeine and theobromine, both of which cause toxicosis in dogs. Keep your dog away from caffeinated beverages as well. Learn more about the dangers of your dog consuming chocolate here.

Grapes and Raisins

While grapes and raisins are not harmful to some dogs, they have been associated with kidney failure in others. Simply put, it’s not worth the risk to find out! Vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea can occur within 12 hours of ingestion. If the symptoms are not treated, they can lead to dehydration, decreased appetite and increased urination followed by decreased urination. If your dog has consumed grapes or raisins and these signs occur, take her to a vet immediately. Your dog can develop long-term kidney disease or even die from kidney failure within three to four days.

Alcohol and Raw Bread Dough

Small amounts of alcohol found in drinks, syrups and raw bread dough can be poisonous to dogs. These products contain ethanol, and beer also contains hops, both of which can cause alcohol intoxication. Signs of intoxication include vomiting, disorientation, high body temperature, restlessness, excessive panting, muscle tremors and seizures. Dogs who show signs of alcohol intoxication should be monitored by a vet until they recover, as it can cause failure of the organ systems and even death. The yeast in raw bread dough can also cause stomach expansion, which can result in tissue damage and difficulty breathing.

Onions and Garlic

Anything in the onion family–from garlic to shallots to scallions to chives–is toxic to dogs. They contain compounds that can cause gastroenteritis, anemia and serious damage to the red blood cells. Garlic is considered to be five times as potent as onions. Signs of onion or garlic poisoning often do not appear for several days after ingestion, but include lethargy, weakness and orange- to dark red-tinged urine. Japanese breeds of dogs such as Akitas and Shiba Inus tend to be more sensitive to garlic and onions.

Other Foods Harmful to Dogs

Dairy products can upset your dog’s digestive system and cause diarrhea as well as food allergies. Ingestion of just a few macadamia nuts can cause weakness, paralysis and lack of coordination. Avocados contain persin, which can cause mild stomach upset in dogs. The bones in meat, chicken and fish can also be very hazardous to your dog. They can splinter and stick in the throat, break teeth or cut the intestines.

If you are unsure if you can feed a food to your dog, always consult your veterinarian first. As a general rule of thumb it is best to avoid feeding your dog human food anyways. While it can be hard to ignore those puppy dog eyes looking at you at the dinner table, feeding your dog can often result in weight gain among other more serious issues. To keep your dog out of harm’s way, it is best to stick to a diet of food specifically formulated to meet your dog’s nutritional needs.

Conclusion 

Dogs need healthy food to keep them going and healthy. As it has been said before, a happy dog makes a happy owner. However, when it comes to supplementing their diet, there is a lot you can do to help your canine friend. Many brands sell dog supplements that you can easily buy. Make sure you consult your dog’s pet before you administer any supplement to keep everyone healthy and happy.

 

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Despite Targets, Food Manufacturers Fail to Make Healthier Foods

  • A study investigated how the nutritional value of products from the top 10 global food and drink companies changed in response to voluntary reformulation policies in the United Kingdom.
  • The results suggest that although these targets did not significantly affect products’ nutritional values, a soft drink industry levy was successful in reducing the sugar content in drinks.
  • The researchers say that further policy action is necessary to incentivize companies to change product composition to improve public health.

Poor diets, including those that incorporate foods high in calories, sugar, and salt, are a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseaseTrusted SourcecancerTrusted Source, and general mortalityTrusted Source.

In 2019, a study found that poor diets account for 18.2% of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes costs in the United States, which equates to $50.4 billion.

In recent years, Public Health England (PHE) has published a series of voluntary reformulation targets to encourage manufacturers to improve the nutritional values of their food. These included reduction targets for caloriessugar, and salt.

There has been little research on how reformulation targets influence the nutritional values of products by individual companies. Monitoring this could help policymakers develop better ways to improve public health.

Scientists from the University of Oxford in the U.K. recently conducted a study investigating how the nutritional value of products from the top 10 global food and drinks companies changed in response to voluntary reformulation targets in the U.K.

“Our study shows it is possible to monitor the overall healthiness of company product portfolios and chart changes over time,” says Dr. Lauren Bandy of the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health.

“We saw little evidence that the recommended current targets have made a significant difference, and we believe that without more policy action and a transparent monitoring and evaluation system, it is unlikely there will be meaningful change.”

The researchers published their findings in PLOS ONETrusted Source.

Data analysis

The scientists used Euromonitor International to identify the 10 largest food and soft drink manufacturers and examine the sales data for their brands and products between 2015 and 2018.

Altogether, these companies accounted for 24% of the £71.3 billion in sales generated in the U.K. in 2018. They included names such as Coca-Cola, Mondelez International, and Premier Foods.

The researchers also used Edge by Ascential, a private analytics company, to collect nutrition data on all brands that the companies sold between 2015 and 2018.

They then applied a nutrient profile model — which the Food Standards Agency developed for the Office for Communications (Ofcom) — to each product to rate their healthiness.

The team awarded the products points based on their energy, saturated fat, total sugar, sodium level, fiber, and protein, as well as their fruit, nut, and vegetable (FNV) contents.

Between 2015 and 2018, the number of products that the companies manufactured decreased slightly from 3,471 to 3,273.

The researchers also noted a small increase in the proportion of healthy products that the companies offered. In 2015, 46% of products met the criteria for a healthy classification, compared with 48% of products in 2018.

They also found an increase in the proportion of healthy sales from 44% in 2015 to 51% in 2018. However, this change was largely due to an increase in sales of bottled water, low or no-calorie drinks, and fruit juice.

Overall, the researchers found that voluntary reformulation targets led to no significant changes in product nutritional values among the top 10 food and drink companies between 2015 and 2018.

They also found that the average nutritional values of these products collectively fell below the Ofcom threshold for broadcast advertising.

Sugar levy for soft drinks

To explain their results, the researchers say that the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) in 2018 likely drove the small increase in more healthy soft drink sales.

The SDIL works by charging companies for excess sugarTrusted Source in their drinks. There is a tax of £0.24 per liter on drinks with 8 grams (g) or more of sugar per 100 milliliters (ml), with a lower tax of £0.18 for those with 5–8 g per 100 ml, and no tax for those with less than 5 g per 100 ml.

“When you compare the lack of overall change, we saw in foods with the reductions we saw in the sugar content of soft drinks, it would be easy to draw the line between the voluntary nature of the food reformulation targets and the mandatory and fiscal nature of the soft drinks tax,” Dr. Bandy recently told Medical News Today.

“Other than for acting in a responsible way and to enable consumers to eat more healthily, manufacturers have little incentive to reformulate their products to meet the reformulation targets set out by PHE,” she continued.

The researchers conclude that transparent monitoring and evaluation of food nutritional values could make it easier for policymakers to work with companies to improve public health.

Assessing the healthiness of UK food companies’ product portfolios using food sales and nutrient composition data

Lauren Kate Bandy, Sven Hollowell, Richard Harrington, Peter Scarborough, Susan Jebb, Mike Rayner

Published: August 4, 2021    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0254833

Abstract

Background

The provision and over-consumption of foods high in energy, saturated fat, free sugars or salt are important risk factors for poor diet and ill-health. In the UK, policies seek to drive improvement through voluntary reformulation of single nutrients in key food groups. There has been little consideration of the overall progress by individual companies. This study assesses recent changes in the nutrient profile of brands and products sold by the top 10 food and beverage companies in the UK.

Methods

The FSA/Ofcom nutrient profile model was applied to the nutrient composition data for all products manufactured by the top 10 food and beverage companies and weighted by volume sales. The mean nutrient profiling score, on a scale of 1–100 with thresholds for healthy products being 62 for foods and 68 for drinks, was used to rank companies and food categories between 2015 and 2018, and to calculate the proportion of individual products and sales that are considered by the UK Government to be healthy.

Results

Between 2015 and 2018 there was little change in the sales-weighted nutrient profiling score of the top 10 companies (49 to 51; p = 0.28) or the proportion of products classified as healthy (46% to 48%; p = 0.23). Of the top five brands sold by each of the ten companies, only six brands among ten companies improved their nutrient profiling score by 20% or more. The proportion of total volume sales classified as healthy increased from 44% to 51% (p = 0.07) driven by an increase in the volume sales of bottled water, low/no calorie carbonates and juices, but after removing soft drinks, the proportion of foods classified as healthy decreased from 7% to 6% (p = 33).

Conclusions

The UK voluntary reformulation policies, setting targets for reductions in calories, sugar and salt, do not appear to have led to significant changes in the nutritional quality of foods, though there has been progress in soft drinks where the soft drink industry levy also applies. Further policy action is needed to incentivise companies to make more substantive changes in product composition to support consumers to achieve a healthier diet.

Citation: Bandy LK, Hollowell S, Harrington R, Scarborough P, Jebb S, Rayner M (2021) Assessing the healthiness of UK food companies’ product portfolios using food sales and nutrient composition data. PLoS ONE 16(8): e0254833. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254833

 Editor: Jane Anne Scott, Curtin University, AUSTRALIA

Received: January 21, 2021; Accepted: July 4, 2021; Published: August 4, 2021

Copyright: © 2021 Bandy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

 

Data Availability: This study used data from two commercial sources. The sales data was accessed under licence from Euromonitor International (https://www.euromonitor.com/packaged-food) via the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, using Euromonitor’s database portal Passport GMID. The product information dataset, including nutrition composition data, was purchased for the purpose of the lead author’s DPhil research project from Edge by Ascential (https://www.ascentialedge.com/our-solutions). Due to licencing restrictions, the Euromonitor and Edge by Ascential datasets can only be requested under licence for the purpose of verification and replication of study’s findings via the research group’s Data Access Committee (contact: Trisha Gordon [email protected]). Further use of these datasets must be negotiated with the data owners (Euromonitor contact: Ashton Moses – [email protected], Edge by Ascential contact: David Beech – [email protected]). The authors received no special privileges in accessing the data.

 

Funding: LB, SH and MR are funded by the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford. PS is funded by a British Heart Foundation Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellowship (FS/15/34/31656). All authors are part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). SJ is also funded by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Oxford at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and is an NIHR senior investigator. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Introduction

The provision and consumption of foods high in energy, saturated fat, free sugars or salt is an important marker of poor diet and associated with substantial morbidity [1]. To support improvements in public health nutrition, Public Health England (PHE) published a series of voluntary, category-specific reformulation targets for calories, sugar and salt [24] to encourage manufacturers to improve the nutritional quality of everyday products. Progress has been monitored by measuring change in the levels of individual nutrients and does not include a more holistic view of how the nutritional quality of products has changed overall.

The food industry in the UK is powerful and consolidated; in 2018, the retail value sales of packaged food and soft drinks products was £71.3 billion, with the 10 largest companies accounting for nearly a quarter (24%) of the total [5]. In order for PHE’s voluntary reformulation targets to be successful in improving quality of the UK population’s diet, food manufacturers–especially the largest companies whose products dominate the market—must make changes across a range of products. So far, PHE has focused on changes in specific food groups and has published only limited company-level analysis, but progress by company is vital to understanding the industry response to the targets.

Nutrient profiling is “the science of classifying and ranking foods according to their nutritional composition for reasons related to preventing disease and promoting health” [6]. Nutrient profiling generally involves the application of a model that classifies or ranks foods based on their overall nutrition composition, rather than looking at individual nutrients in isolation. It has multiple purposes, including supporting health-related labelling schemes and restricting the marketing of foods to children [7]. The UK Government’s current nutrient profile model was developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to provide the Office for Communications (Ofcom) with a tool to differentiate between foods that can and cannot be advertised to children, based on their nutrition composition [8].

The aim of this study was to assess how the nutritional quality of products offered by the top 10 global food and drink companies has changed over time by applying the FSA/Ofcom nutrient profiling model to a composition database, and weighting it using product sales data.

Methods

Data types and sources

Volume sales data was sourced from Euromonitor and accessed through the Oxford University Library. The top 10 UK food and soft drink manufacturers and their brands were identified based on global company names using 2018 sales data from Euromonitor [5]. A company is defined by Euromonitor as: “the legal entity that produces or distributes an individual or group of brands in the UK”. All of the brands manufactured by these companies between 2015 and 2018 were identified, including those that dropped in or out of the market. Brands were defined as a set of products that have the same generic name and are manufactured by one company.

The composition data were provided by Edge by Ascential (previously Brand View), a private analytics company that collects product information, including nutrient composition data, by scraping the websites of the UK’s three leading retailers: Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. These data were scraped from these three websites on the same date (13th December) for four consecutive years (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018). The sales data and nutrition composition data were automatically matched in Python based on three identifier variables that were present in both databases: brand name, category and year. A 10% random sample of brands was checked manually for any errors. Of the 20 brands checked, 4 brands were identified as pairing with the correct brand name but incorrect category. All 4 of these errors were brands that appeared in more than one category (e.g. Cadbury is present in five categories, including baked goods and confectionery). The matching code was adjusted so that it first paired based on matching categories, and then brand names, and no errors were identified after further checks.

Applying the FSA/Ofcom nutrient profile model

The FSA/Ofcom nutrient profile model was applied to the individual product composition data. The appropriate points were awarded based on each product’s energy, saturated fat, total sugar and sodium content (“A-points”) and fibre, protein and fruit, nut and vegetable (FNV) content (“C-points”) per 100g, as set out by FSA/Ofcom’s technical guidance [9]. This system was developed for the purposes of restricting advertising of food to children, but here we have used it to classify products as healthy and unhealthy. A food is classified as ‘less healthy’ if it scores four points or more. A drink is classified as ‘less healthy’ if it scores 1 point or more. For the purpose of comparing companies’ entire product portfolios, we converted the nutrient profile score to a 1–100 scale (-2(original score) +70), so that a higher score indicates healthier products. In order to directly compare drink scores with food scores, we also applied a linear adjustment to the distribution of the soft drinks scores (11x – 704, where x is the score for drinks on the 1–100 scale). The linear adjustment was selected so that the 33rd percentile and 66th percentile of both foods and drinks received the same score (44 and 66, respectively). After the scale conversion and linear adjustment, the thresholds for products to be considered healthy according to the FSA/Ofcom nutrient profile model were 62 or more for foods and 66 or more for drinks.

If the nutrient content for a product was missing, then data was imputed by calculating a brand average for foods in the same category, and if this was not possible, an overall category average. FNV content was estimated based on the ingredients list to categorise ingredients into ‘fruit’, ‘nut’, ‘vegetable’ and ‘other’. The percentage composition of ingredients was identified if this information was provided in the ingredients list. For the products where percentage of ingredients were not given, values were imputed based on a brand and category average, or if this was not possible, a category average.

Variables calculated

The total value (£ millions) and volume of food and soft drinks (tonnes) and the sales weighted mean nutrient profiling score (referred to in figure labels as sales-weighted score) were calculated in R for each company and brand, both overall and by category. When one brand had multiple product variants, a simple mean was used. While all brands were included in the analysis, only the top five for each company (n = 50) were presented for the brand-level analyses (Fig 3) for clarity. Bubble and chewing gum and milk formulas for infants, toddlers and children were excluded.

Statistical analysis

Chi-squared tests were performed in R to test if there were any significant changes in the number of brands and products each company manufactured over time (2015–2018). ANOVA tests were used to test for differences over time in the nutrient profiling scores overall and for each company, category and brand.

Results

In 2018, the top 10 food and soft drink companies had total value sales of £17.1 billion (Table 1). The top 10 companies by value were also the largest 10 in terms of volume sales, although there is variation in the ranking between these two measures. Food company Mondelez is the largest in value terms, while Coca Cola is the largest company in volume terms.

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Table 1. Number of products, brands and total volume sales by company, 2018.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254833.t001

In 2018, there were 3273 individual products produced by these companies and included in the dataset under 222 different brands. Premier Foods had the largest product portfolio in 2018, with 613 individual products. Kellogg had the smallest, with 91 individual products. There was a decline in the total number of products that were manufactured by the top 10 companies over the period of analysis, from 3471 in 2015 to 3273 in 2018, a reduction of 6% (p <0.05). Seven out of ten of the companies reduced the number of products they manufacture.

Between 2015 and 2018 there was little change in the sales-weighted mean nutrient profiling score of all the products manufactured by included companies, moving from 49 to 51 (p = 0.28). The number of individual products that could be classified as healthy also remained relatively unchanged, at 46% in 2015 and 48% in 2018 (p = 0.23) There was an increase from 44% to 51% in the total volume sales classified as healthy (p = 0.07). Once soft drinks were removed, the proportion of volume sales that were classified as healthy decreased from 7% in 2015 to 6% in 2018 (p = 0.33).

The company that saw the largest increase in sales-weighted nutrient profiling score was Coca-Cola (48 to 51), although its score still remained below the FSA/Ofcom threshold (Fig 1). The company with the highest sales-weighted nutrient profiling score was Danone, with a large proportion of sales from dairy and bottled water, followed by Kraft Heinz, which has high volume sales of high-scoring pre-prepared baby foods. Coca-Cola, Mars, Unilever, Nestlé and Mondelez scored poorly, with portfolios dominated by confectionery and snacks.

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Fig 1. Total sales-weighted nutrient profiling score by company and year.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254833.g001

Baby food had the healthiest nutrient profiling score in 2018, at 72 (Fig 2) but little change over time. Spreads, confectionery and ice cream and desserts were the categories with the lowest nutrient profiling score. There was weak evidence of increases in score over time of staples, dairy, soft drinks and baked goods.

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Fig 2. Total sales-weighted nutrient profiling score by category and year.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254833.g002

There was great heterogeneity between companies within some categories (Fig 3). For example, the company scores within the baked goods category ranged from 22 (Nestlé) to 69 (Premier Foods). In contrast, there was less variation within savoury snacks (39–52) and confectionery (26–42). Coca-Cola was the least diverse company producing only soft drinks, while Mondelez and Nestlé were the most diverse, with their portfolios containing products from six categories.

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Fig 3. Sales-weighted nutrient profiling score by company and category, 2018.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254833.g003

Of the five top-selling brands of each company, there were increases in the sales-weighted nutrient profiling score over time for Fanta (Coca-Cola), Volvic (Danone), San Pellegrino (Nestlé), Coco-Pops (Kellogg), Maltesers (Mars) and Angel Delight (Premier Foods) (Fig 4). Only Special K (Kellogg) saw its score cross the Ofcom threshold, up from 58 in 2015 to 62 in 2018 (+7%, p = 0.10). The largest increases were seen in soft drink brands San Pellegrino (+88%, p<0.01), Fanta (+28%, p<0.01) and Volvic (+26%, p<0.01) due to reductions in sugar and energy content. Tropicana (PepsiCo) saw a significant decrease in its score (-14%, p<0.01) due to a reduction in the proportion of sales of reduced sugar products, where the number of different products decreased over time. Coco-Pops (Kellogg) improved its score with an increase of 27% (p<0.01) due to a reduction in sugar, energy and salt. There was no strong evidence for changes in the scores of the top 5 brands for Kraft Heinz, Mondelez, PepsiCo and Unilever.

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Fig 4. Sales-weighted nutrient profiling score for top 5 brands by company 2015–2018.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254833.g004

Discussion

Between 2015 and 2018, there was no evidence of change in the overall mean sales weighted nutrient profiling score of products sold by the top 10 food and drink companies in the UK. This mean score remained well below the Ofcom threshold for broadcast advertising. There was only one company (Kellogg’s) where there was weak evidence for improvement in its overall company score due to reductions in sugar and salt in two of its leading brands (Coco-Pops and Special K). There was a very small increase in the number of products classified as healthy (46% in 2015 to 47% in 2018) but a greater increase in the proportion of sales that were classified as healthy (44% in 2015 to 51% in 2018). This was largely attributable to a reduction in the sugar content of some soft drink products and an increase in the volume sales of healthy beverages (bottled water, low/no calorie drinks and fruit juices), changes likely driven by the introduction of the Soft Drink Industry Levy in 2018 [10,11]. Once soft drinks were removed, the proportion of healthy sales fell to 6% in 2018, down from 7% in 2015. This suggests that despite PHE’s reformulation targets for calories, sugar and salt, there has been no improvement in the nutritional quality of foods that people are buying.

Strengths and limitations

By pairing composition data with sales data and applying a nutrient profile model, both the relative healthiness of individual foods and drinks available, and the relative healthiness of what is sold have been assessed, and how this has changed over time. This gives an idea of how companies are responding to voluntary reformulation targets to improve the nutritional quality of their products overall, rather than in relation to a single nutrient.

Only 10 companies, based on global company name, were included in the analysis, which represented 24% of total value sales in the UK in 2018 [5]. These companies were selected based on their value sales, although they are also the top 10 companies in terms of volume sales. By selecting companies based on their global, rather than national, names, UK retailers were excluded from the analysis. This is a major limitation given that own-label brands from the top 3 UK retailers (Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda) represented a total market share of 21% in 2018 [5]. While this study sets out a useful and important method for ranking companies in terms of healthiness of product portfolios, future studies should include retailers and a wider range of companies. This would give a more comprehensive picture of how food and drink companies and retailers in the UK are changing their products to meet public health targets. There are a number of data-driven limitations. The first is in relation to missing and imputed data. The values for seven nutrients (energy, saturated fat, total sugars, sodium, fibre, protein and FNV content) are needed to calculate the FSA/Ofcom nutrient profile score of a product. 32% of the 13,371 products included in this study had missing values for fibre, and 67% products had insufficient ingredients information and composition detail to be able to calculate %FNV accurately. There was no difference in the proportion of missing values over time. Missing values were imputed with either a category and/or brand average. The high proportion of missing/imputed fibre and FNV was to be expected as the labelling of fibre on foods is not mandatory (unlike other macronutrients) [12] and the percentages for individual ingredients (i.e. FNV ingredients) only have to be stated when the product title includes an ingredient name, or when a claim about the amount of an ingredient has been made on the label [13].

To test what impact the imputed fibre data had on the results, a sensitivity analysis was conducted. 31% (n = 4186) of all products in the original dataset had imputed fibre values, and these were evenly distributed across the four years. For our sensitivity analysis, we adjusted the fibre content for these products to 0.0g/100g, with the FSA/Ofcom points awarded for fibre also then given 0, the lowest score possible. The number of products that were classified as healthy fell from 47% to 46% in 2018, and there were negligible changes in the total sales-weighted nutrient profiling score for 2018, which fell from 51 to 50.

For fruit, nut and vegetable (FNV) content, 8896 (67%) of included products had imputed values, although three-quarters of these (n = 6624) fell into categories that you would not expect to contain enough FNV to score one point: baked goods, confectionery, dairy, ice cream, savoury snacks, soft drinks, spreads and staples. To test what impact the imputed FNV data may have had on the results, the remaining 2272 products (baby food, breakfast cereals, ready meals, and sauces, dressings and condiments) had their %FNV adjusted to 0%. After this adjustment, 25% (n = 564) of the 2272 products saw a change in their final Ofcom score. The overall proportion of products classified as healthy in 2018 fell from 47% to 46%. The results were the same as those found with the fibre sensitivity analysis, with a similar group of products being affected by the lack of fibre and FNV values. These results suggest that while the missing fibre and FNV values is a weakness in the dataset, the interpretation of the data was unchanged, and it has not affected the overall results.

Data restrictions meant that time period covered changes between 2015 and 2018. Previous reformulation efforts made before 2015, for example as part of the salt reduction programme that began in 2006, will have been excluded. Using a wider historic time period may show that some companies who started reformulation efforts promptly have made more signficant changes than recorded here. Applying this method to datasets in multiple countries may offer insight into how companies are responding in countries with varying public health nutrition policies, for example voluntary reformulation targets in the UK compared to taxes on energy dense foods in Mexico [14] and mandatory warning labels in Chile [15].

The FSA/Ofcom nutrient profile model was used because it is designed for and used in the UK market and has been widely validated in terms of how its use may impact on dietary choices [16]. However, its original purpose was for the assessment of whether or not a product should be advertised to children, rather than to assess the nutritonal quality of a company’s product portfolio and classifying products as healthy and unhealthy, as it was used here. It would be possible to conduct similar analyses using other nutrient profiling models such as Health Star Rating [17] and Nutri Score [18], though since all rely on changes in the underlying nutrient composition differences between scoring systems are likley to be modest.

We combined the distributions of food and drink products by using a linear transformation that matched the distributions at two points–the 33rd and 66th percentile. The selection of the two matching points was arbitrary. Matching at different points (e.g. the 25th and 75th percentiles) would have produced a different linear transformation and hence different scores for drinks. This is an inevitable limitation associated with combining scores for companies with both food and drink profiles.

Comparisons with other studies.

There are a number of studies that have examined the nutrient content of foods sold in the UK over time. Previous studies have shown that voluntary salt reduction targets in the UK led to gradual and important changes in the salt content of foods between 2008–2011 [19,20], although a more recent report from Public Health England (PHE) suggests that only 28 of 52 of the 2017 salt reduction targets had been met in 2018 [4]. Two studies have shown that there were significant changes in the sugar content of soft drinks in the UK in context of the introduction of the Soft Drink Industry Levy [10,11]. The changes in the sugar content of soft drinks presented in these studies is in line with the results presented here, where the majority of the change in the volume sales of foods classified as healthy was driven by changes in the sugar content of soft drinks. Another study has also looked at the sugar content of foods between 2015 and 2018 and also presented findings by category and company [21].This study showed that 24 out of the top 50 companies (including retailers) in the UK had met Public Health England’s 5% sugar reduction targets, and that companies have made limited progress towards meeting this voluntary policy. Public Health England have themselves published a series of reports that monitor progress being made towards their 20% sugar reduction targets using both sales and composition data [3]. For example, they have shown that there was a -2.9% reduction in the sugar content of foods between 2015 and 2018 [3]. A strength of our study is that it applies a nutrient profiling model, whereas these analyses are based on single nutrients and are therefore not directly comparable. However, they generally show that there has been mixed progress by the food industry towards public health goals.

INFORMAS (International Network on Food and Obesity/NCD Research, Monitoring and Action Support) have produced a series of company scorecards that rank the world’s top 25 food companies, including supermarkets and quick-service restaurants, in a number of different areas, including product formulation [22]. While the scores are not based on quantitative analysis of the nutritional quality of companies’ products, they are based on business practices and companies’ commitments to nutrition-related policies, which is also important for monitoring food industry progress towards public health goals.

In 2019, the Access to Nutrition Initiative (ATNI) published its UK Product Profile [23]. It analysed the nutritional quality of 3069 products from the top five food categories of the world’s top 18 manufacturers in 2016. The ATNI study also applied the HSR nutrient profiling model. Nine companies (excluding Premier Foods, a UK-only company) included here were also included in the ATNI index. ATNI found that 31% of products were classified as healthy enough to advertise to children, compared to 45% in 2016 here. 22% of sales were classified as healthy, as opposed to 55% in this study. These differences are likely to be accounted for by the fact that ATNI had a lower coverage (this study included 3438 products for 10 companies in 2016, compared to 3069 products for 18 companies for ATNI). The main advantage of this study over ATNI’s UK Product Profile is that it includes four years’ worth of data and therefore examines trends over time, whereas ATNI’s study is a snapshot of a single year. The two studies are not directly comparable as the ATNI companies were defined at the global level, rather than UK level, and therefore the brands included under each company vary. However, the general ranking of the companies were similar between the two studies; Kraft Heinz and Danone were the two top scoring companies, and Nestlé, Mars and Mondelez were ranked at the bottom.

Another study similar to this one, conducted in India by Jones et al. 2017, used Euromonitor sales data and nutrition composition data for 943 products, collected from either the packet or company websites [24]. It applied the Health Star Rating (HSR) to analyse the nutritional quality of the top 11 packaged food manufacturers in India. The study found that the overall healthiness of products was low and that only 17% of products were considered healthy [24]. This is lower than the 45% of products classified as healthy in this study in 2016. These differences are to be expected as the Indian study excluded products like staples (bread, pasta, rice), and used a different nutrient profiling model (HSR). Despite covering a very different market, it demonstrates that a high proportion of products sold by leading companies in other countries are also unhealthy, and that this problem is not isolated to the UK.

Implications of research

This study shines a spotlight on the very small changes over time in the nutritional quality of food and drink products from the UKs largest food and beverage companies. While the proportion of volume sales increased from 44% to 53% over time, this change was entirely down to increased volume sales of bottled water, low/no calorie drinks and high-scoring fruit juices. The brands that saw the biggest changes to their scores over time were soft drinks. Once soft drinks were removed, the total volume sales of foods classified as healthy dropped to just 6% in 2018, down from 7% in 2015. This strongly suggests that PHE’s reformulation targets for sugar, salt and calories have not had a substantive impact on the nutritional quality of foods.

This method of ranking food and drink companies based on the nutritional quality of their product portfolios could be used to benchmark companies as a tool for ‘healthier’ impact investment. There is an increasing interest by investment banks and other financial organisations to assess what impact food companies are having on public health and how responsible their business practices are (known as impact investment) [25]. This has already been done in part by ATNI in collaboration with Shared Action [26] and INFORMAS [22].

Transparent monitoring of this kind also allows for greater consumer understanding of the work that is, or is not, being undertaken by companies. There is some evidence that pressure from the social environment is a factor influencing corporate behaviour [27], and public benchmarking exercises may increase pressure on companies to make meaningful change.

Conclusion

This study has demonstrated that it is feasible to monitor overall healthiness of company product portfolios over time. It shows that companies have made little change to the nutritional quality of their product portfolios, despite a few individual brand success stories, a factor which needs to be considered by policy makers when reviewing the current focus on single-nutrient reformulation programmes. Implementing a transparent monitoring and evaluation system such as this, would allow for targeted work with the companies to drive improvements in public health nutrition.

References
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  7. 8.Department of Health. Nutrient Profiling Technical Guidance [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2018 Aug 9]. Available from: http://www.dh.gov.uk/publications.
  8. 9.Department of Health. Nutrient Profiling Technical Guidance [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2019 Nov 26]. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/216094/dh_123492.pdf.
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  14. 15.Reyes M, Garmendia ML, Olivares S, Aqueveque C, Zacarías I, Corvalán C. Development of the Chilean front-of-package food warning label. [cited 2020 Nov 3]; Available from: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7118-1.
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  20. 21.Bandy LK, Scarborough P, Harrington RA, Rayner M, Jebb SA. The sugar content of foods in the UK by category and company: A repeated cross-sectional study, 2015–2018. Popkin BM, editor. PLOS Med [Internet]. 2021 May 18 [cited 2021 May 28];18(5):e1003647. Available from: https://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003647. pmid:34003863
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  22. 23.Access to Nutrition Initiative, Attard J, Cooper K, Gordon K, Chapman E, Vasquez I, et al. UK Product Profile 2019. 2019.
  23. 24.Jones A, Dunford E, Crossley R, Thout SR, Rayner M, Neal B. An evaluation of the healthiness of the Indian packaged food and beverage supply. Nutrients. 2017;9(10). pmid:28991201
  24. 25.Irving (Schroders) E, Crossman (Rathbone Greenbank) M. Sugar, obesity and noncommunicable disease: Investor expectations. 2017.
  25. 26.ATNI. ATNI partnership with ShareAction–Access to Nutrition [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 Dec 18]. Available from: https://accesstonutrition.org/project/atni-shareaction/.
  26. 27.van Erp J. Naming and Shaming of Corporate Offenders. In: Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Springer New York; 2014. p. 3209–17.

 

 

 

 

 

Learn About Vitamins and Supplements Driving Beauty Innovation

Interestingly, there is a link between diet and beauty. There has been much research conducted in this area. People now dread illnesses for different reasons. Apart from the overall damage to health, people now fear that illnesses will rub them of their beauty.

We live in a society where people shame other people for looks, so they try all they can to look good. This means that more focus is placed on health these days. This beauty-influenced health-focused lifestyle has created many have created new habits in people.

These new habits are influenced by the information gaps between health, nutrition, and beauty that have been bridged. The reason for this is the result of the internet which has made information readily available for people. So, without prescription, consumers know about products that can help them maintain their health and, in turn, their beauty. So, instead of the old reliance on face washes, face masks, creams, ointment, etc., people now turn to vitamins and supplements. These allow them to be healthy and youthful.

Working with in-house beauty researchers at professional paper writers, we have researched the top vitamins and supplements driving beauty innovations.

Vitamin and Supplements driving Beauty Innovations.

These vitamins and supplements have the twin functions of helping people feel good as well as look good. However, consumers have always equated looking good as feeling good. They believe and take their good looks as a sign of being healthy. Beauty experts writing for buy dissertation uk find consumer view to be myopic.

The consumer view is incomplete as the definition of health has been expanded. Instead of looking good alone, the definition of health has now included psychological health, feeling optimal, and sleeping adequately. Even with data to support the expansion of health, we still have about 54% of consumers who believe beauty is health. Also, we have 47% thinking having a healthy appearance means being healthy.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a consumer favorite, and it is everything consumers crack it up to be. Vitamin A is a skin wizard. It protects and heals the skin. So, you would have great skin when you consume food rich in vitamin A such as sweet potatoes, green, orange and yellow vegetables, fruits, eggs, and cod liver oil. Foods rich in vitamin A help cure brown spots, tames the growth of wrinkles, etc. It also helps smoothen the skin roughness. In addition, it enables the skin to be elastic by enriching the elastic fibers we have in our skin.

The other name for vitamin A in the beauty industry is retinoid. So, supplements and beauty products rich in retinoid would perform similarly to those rich in vitamin A mentioned above.

Vitamin B-complex

According to the research conducted by beauty enthusiasts at buy essays online, this vitamin is what you call a pack of vitamins. Also, the vitamins are very thorough in what they do. Little wonder that they have found favor among consumers.

Vitamin A targets the skin when you look at its functions from a beauty perspective. Vitamin B-complex does so much more than that. It targets the skin, the nails, and the hairs. This pack of vitamin B is regarded as an antioxidant, and they keep the skin hydrated. Vitamin achieves this through biotin, which improves the level of Keratin in the body. Keratin helps in building collagen for the skin, thereby protecting it. Keratin is also good for the growth of the hair as it helps the hair grow longer and sturdier.

Apart from Keratin, there is Niacin (vitamin B3) which contains qualities that help brighten skin tone and hydrate it. Reportedly biotin also helps with hair growth and nail growth.

Food rich in vitamin B-complex are eggs, dark green vegetables, fish, red meat, milk and other dairy products, poultry,  shellfish,  kidney, and liver. You can also target supplements rich in vitamin B by looking for Keratin supplements, biotin supplements, etc.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a vital vitamin for our health as they help us build strong and vibrant immunity. However, apart from the health benefits we get, there are many beauty advantages with vitamin C. Vitamin C helps protect the skin from UV damage. It builds the skin to be healthy, youthful, and radiant. This vitamin improves collagen production, which helps make the skin firmer. Plus, the skin enjoys anti-inflammatory properties, which help to cure spots and acne marks. In addition, it clears free radicals, which have the potential to lead to cancer. Furthermore, these vitamins support communication between cells.

Food rich in vitamin C is yellow and red peppers, tomatoes, citrus, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, fortified, etc.

Vitamin D

When we get sunlight, our skin gets the necessary amounts of Vitamin D to have a more transparent and healthier skin. Vitamin D helps the skin from skin problems such as acne. It also has anti-inflammation qualities. Thus, it assists the skin to become smooth and soft. With enough vitamin D, wrinkles and skin roughness will disappear.

As much as it is easy to just stay in the sun to get vitamin D. In the United States, over 75% of their population suffers from a lack of vitamin D. Lack of vitamin D is bad for the skin and the body as a whole. Supplements and vitamin D can help bridge the gap, but the sun’s purest source of vitamin D. So as much as you eat vitamin D-rich foods and take supplements, it is better to find time to get sun exposure 10 to 15 minutes before noon.

Vitamin E.

Vitamin E is one vitamin that is present in abundance in different food sources. The vitamin works in concert with vitamin C to boost skin health. Vitamin E is described as a fat-soluble vitamin, and it contributes to the growth of collagen in the body. Vitamin E leads the charge against free radicals, which results in firmer and toned skin. Vitamin E is present in food sources such as vegetable oils, seeds, nuts, spinach, nuts, and asparagus.

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The Truth About Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is a rich creamy dish that consists of macaroni pasta mixed with a cheese sauce. It is mainly consumed in the United States and Canada. It’s high in calories because it’s made from cheese, pasta, butter, and cream. While calorie content varies depending on the ingredients, brands, and serving size, mac and cheese is a delicious meal that many people around the world enjoy. Individuals who want to promote their health and wellbeing can make a few swaps to reduce the calories of this dish. In this article, we are going to share a few facts about mac and cheese and how you can create a healthier recipe. Let’s get started!

Nutrition info about mac and cheese

As we said earlier, the calorie content of this delicious dish varies depending on the ingredients, brand, and consumed quantity. Mac and cheese contain a huge amount of refined carbs and fat which contribute to the high count of calories. Consuming more calories than you burn naturally leads to weight gain regardless of the type of food you consume.

Further, mac and cheese contain high sodium content. Research studies have shown that the recommended amount of sodium that people should take should not exceed 2300 mg per day. Excessive intake of sodium can lead to high blood pressure.

Homemade mac and cheese – both gluten-free and regular – have the highest number of calories since these versions usually contain huge amounts of milk, cheese butter, or cheese and cream. Preparing this dish at home allows you to omit sodium.

Since this dish is usually high in calories, you should consume it in moderation or occasionally to maintain your health and manage weight.

Reducing calorie count of mac and cheese

Mac and cheese usually contain high-calorie ingredients such as cheese, pasta, milk, and cream. Some versions which contain additional fat include cream cheese and butter. These ingredients make mac and cheese a delicious dish to consume in moderation. Fortunately, there are simple ways that you can use to reduce calories and make your dish healthier. To have time to prepare a nutritious dish, you should consider delegating your writing and editing tasks to assignment help website. Some of the swaps that you should consider include:

  • Using high fiber pasta and protein from chickpeas and beans instead of plain macaroni to increase fiber and protein
  • Using broccoli or cauliflower instead of plain macaroni to reduce calories and carbs
  • Following the directions on packaged mac and cheese products since they require less milk and butter.
  • Adding vegetables to your dish to increase nutrients and fiber while decreasing calories in each serving
  • Reducing the amount of cheese that you normally use by half and adding spices and herbs to add flavor to the dish
  • Swapping milk and cream for unsweetened nut milk to reduce calories
  • Going for Neufchatel cheese instead of the creamy one to enjoy the tangy flavor, and creamy texture with fewer calories
  • Adding lean proteins like beans, tuna, and chicken breast to increase protein levels and make the dish more satisfying

Keep in mind that mac and cheese are loaded with calories. Therefore, however you prepare it, it’s important to consume it in moderation to avoid serious health conditions in the future. now, let’s discuss these swaps that you need to make in detail.

Swaps to make mac and cheese healthier

There’s nothing as delicious and comforting as consuming a bowl of mac and cheese after a long day at work. Most people would love consuming this dish several times a week. However, it’s loaded with milk, butter, cream, macaroni, and cheese. And these ingredients are loaded with calories. However, by making a few swaps, you can add minerals, and essential vitamins while eliminating heavier elements for a nutritious dish that will nourish your soul.

1. Always go for homemade

The packets of boxed mac and cheese in some organizations have been found by CDC to contain chemicals known as phthalates which disrupt hormones in the body. Anyway, preparing your mac and cheese at home is usually a tastier and healthier alternative.

Add leafy greens for more nutrients

Leafy greens contain a lot of beneficial nutrients which the body needs. Greens like spinach and kale are rich in vitamin A, C, E, and K as well as calcium, magnesium, iron, and fiber. Plus, leafy greens will protect you from a wide range of deadly diseases by strengthening your immune system.

2. Whole wheat is better than pasta

Whole wheat pasta or whole grain offers a wider range of minerals and vitamins than white pasta. According to nutritional experts, a cup of wheat pasta contains 23 percent of fiber while white pasta only has nine percent. Whole wheat pasta contains 16 percent of fiber.

3. Legume-based pasta

If you’ve never added legume-based pasta to your mac and cheese, now is the time to do so. You should consider adding them to your ingredients because they have more flavor than the traditional pasta and you’ll find gluten-free options. Legume pasta offers more fiber compared to regular pasta. Plus, it has fewer carbs by 33 percent. Some varieties offer close to 50 percent of the recommended protein amount.

4. Throw in some chopped veggies

Mac and cheese is one of the best dishes to add vegetables. You can throw in carrots, broccoli, peas, onions, and mushrooms to name a few. You can add one or different types of vegetables to spice up your dish whilst managing your weight.

5. Include lean protein

Since macaroni and cheese complements different types of vegetables, it is also delicious when you add different types of proteins. From roasted turkey to grilled tofu, most protein varieties will be delicious on top of your mac and cheese. Protein is essential in the body for repairing and building tissues.

6. Use other milk alternatives

Macaroni and cheese are usually accompanied with a cheesy sauce that usually calls for cream or milk for a smooth tasty finish. You should try replacing cream or milk with other nutritious alternatives such as coconut, rice, soy, almond, and flax milk. These alternatives are low in protein and calories. And they are rich in calcium.

Conclusion

These are the truths about mac and cheese. If you love this tasty dish, there are a few changes that you can do to make it tastier and nutritious. What changes are you going to try out today?

Author Bio:

Sherri Carrier is a professional writer at Essaymama and a member of several writing clubs in New York. She has been writing her own poems since she was a child. The young author gets inspiration from her favorite writers and people whom she loves.

 

About NutriFusion® 

Just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations, according to a study published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases.

Studies have shown that supplementation with extracts from fruits and vegetables may improve age-related changes.

NutriFusion develops all‐natural fruit and/or vegetable powders that are nutrient dense for use in foods, beverages, supplements, and pet foods.

NutriFusion can help! Visit us at www.nutrifusion.com.

The Effects of Ultra-Processed Food Consumption

Ultra-processed foods (UPF) are made using multiple techniques. These include pre-frying, hydrogenation, emulsification, extrusion, preservation, and artificial flavors and colors. By using ultra-processing techniques, manufacturers can offer cheap, easy-to-market, long-lasting, and hyper-palatable products.

Consumption of ultra-processed food is prevalent across the globe, so are the prevalence of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.

 Are Ultra-processed Foods Bad for Your Health?

UPF tend to be tastier and cheaper. The problem is that they usually contain ingredients that can be harmful if consumed excessively. These include saturated fats, artificial flavoring, and chemical preservatives.

Moreover, these foods tend to have less fibre and nutrients than whole products.

According to a review published on the Nutritional Epidemiology, UPF consumption correlates with the incidence of type-2 diabetes in Latin America.

Before this publication, a study on 100,000 adults found out that UPF consumption increases the risks of heart problems by up to 10%.

These only attest to the systematic review of epidemiological studies, which showed that consumption of UPF could contribute to the risk of all-cause mortality.

2015 study also showed that people with high-sugar, high-salt, and high-fat diets have a smaller hippocampus. Take note that the hippocampus is the part of the brain that plays a role in memory, learning, and emotions.

The detrimental effects of industrially-prepared food products are constantly exposed to the public.

But why can’t we stop consuming them?

It turns out we’re not buying UPF just because they’re more affordable. Researches show that most of them are addictive!

Dr Ashley N. Gearhardt, a University of Michigan associate professor in psychology, stated that processed foods—such as fries, potato chips, frozen pizza, and packaged cookies—have addictive attributes similar to cocaine and tobacco.

Highly processed foods intensify our natural cravings for fat and carbohydrates to the point of addiction. Compared to unprocessed and minimally processed foods, UPFs are more effective in pleasing the reward-related neural systems in the brain. Dr Gearhardt added that our failure to avoid excessively processed food is comparable to the relapsing pattern in addictive substances.

Therefore, classifying UPF as non-addictive could pave the way to the creation of more addictive foods. The worst part is, vulnerable individuals may be criticized for lacking personal responsibility when they overconsume UPFs.

The Bottom Line

The specific components in UPF that may lead to addictive behaviours are still not identified. Experts suggest that the behavioral effects can also stem from the taste, texture, and accessibility of these products.

According to Shane Perry, Max Funding’s senior business analyst, it can take years before UPF is regulated. He says, “More definite answers are needed although it is already obvious that highly processed foods are harmful. The best thing we can do is to shift to healthier food options gradually.”

Just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations, according to a study published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

 

NutriFusion develops all‐natural fruit and/or vegetable powders that are nutrient dense for use in foods, beverages, supplements, and pet foods.

NutriFusion can help! Visit us at www.nutrifusion.com.

Learn about Essential Vegan Supplements and Vitamins to Include in Your Diet

Vegans no longer eat animal products, such as eggs, meat, dairy, and other foods with an animal source, including honey and gelatin. However, veganism is much more about food choices. If you opt to become a vegan for environmental, ethical, or health reasons, you do not use animal products such as wool, silk, fur, leather, and some cosmetics and soaps.

Your Journey to Improved Health

You must plan your vegan diet well for it to provide fulfillment to your beliefs and to enjoy a healthier and longer life. It should offer the following health benefits:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced cholesterol levels
  • Decreased intake of saturated fats
  • Enhanced vital nutrition
  • Curbed risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and some cancers
  • Healthier weight

You must pay special attention to your vegan lifestyle because you may not get enough vitamins and minerals, especially those found in animal products. You can avoid health risks by eating a balanced diet and focus on the following nutrients in your diet.

Iron

This mineral has a significant role in producing red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. Excellent sources of iron include broccoli, beans, wheat, raisins, and tofu. You may also get your iron requirements from iron-fortified cereals. Non-meat sources are also rich in iron, but they are challenging to digest. Pair iron intake with vitamin C because the latter helps your body absorb the mineral.

Your doctor may suggest iron supplements if you have rock-bottom iron levels in your body. However, excessive iron intake can damage your gastrointestinal system and may result in iron toxicity. Accumulating iron in your organs can be fatal because it harms your brain and liver. Therefore, you must consult your doctor about consuming iron supplements.

Protein

Protein is another essential body component in your skin, organs, bones, and muscles. If you cannot eat dairy and meat, you must ensure that you consume amino acids, the building blocks of protein. You can get your protein requirement from peanut butter, nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes. For non-animal products, you can try soymilk and tofu. You should ensure that you have complete protein to maintain your metabolism.

Calcium

Your body needs calcium for strong bones and prevents osteoporosis, a disease known to weaken or break your bones. You can consume soybeans, bok choy, broccoli, and kale to get enough calcium. You may also drink calcium-fortified juices and soymilk or take calcium supplements.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is vital for your bone health and helps in calcium absorption. Moreover, it promotes bone growth. You may expose yourself to sunlight for about ten minutes thrice a week. If you wish to take more vitamin D, you can search for fortified products, such as cereals, rice milk, and soymilk.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 prevents anemia and aids in the production of red blood cells. You can find it in fish, meat, shellfish, and dairy products. You may opt to eat fortified foods, including some cereals and soymilk. A word of caution from dissertation writing services: you must talk to your doctor about your Vitamin B12 supplement intake.

Zinc

Your immune system needs zinc, and you can find it in soy products, nuts, and beans. Phytates occurring in some cereals and legumes can hamper zinc absorption.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 improves your brain function and heart health. Oil and flaxseed meals are excellent sources, but you can also search for fortified food products from a plant source. According to an assignment writer, you can also check with your doctor about taking supplements containing omega-3.

Omega-3 fatty acids also provide the following benefits:

  • Helps in the neurodevelopment of infants and children
  • Avoids dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease
  • Reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is helpful in wound healing and blood clotting. Vitamin K-1 is plentiful in several plants, including dark leafy green vegetables. On the other hand, Vitamin K-2 is present in egg yolks and some dairy products. You may get your Vitamin K-2 from fermented foods, such as natto, raw sauerkraut, vegan kimchi, unpasteurized kombucha, and plant-based kefir. Vitamin K deficiency may not be an issue because your gut bacteria can convert vitamin K-1 to vitamin K-2.

Iodine

Iodine makes your thyroid gland healthy, and you can find it in small amounts in plants, depending on the type of soil where they grow. You may also get your iodine requirement from seaweed. Eating sushi with seaweed a few times a week is sufficient for your iodine needs. You may wish to talk to your doctor about taking an iodine supplement.

Selenium

You only need small amounts of selenium to prevent cell damage caused by infection. However, according to some dissertation writers uk, you must speak with your doctor before taking a selenium supplement. Generally, you get the required amounts from cereals, bread, and other grains.

Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene becomes vitamin A in your body, and you know that vitamin A plays a significant role in your reproduction, immune system, and vision. It also ensures your organs function properly. Try to talk to your physician about taking a supplement because you may not need it. You can get beta-carotene from the food you eat. Carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, winter squash, cantaloupe, and green leafy vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of bet-carotene.

Some Considerations for Excellent Health

You must make balanced choices if you want to enjoy a lifetime of exceptional health. You can shy away from junk foods and eat high-quality foods rich in nutrients. If you have nutritional issues, such as changes in your hair, skin, or weight, you must talk to your doctor. If you have diabetes and other special needs, you must consult your physician before jumpstarting your vegan diet to help you make outstanding nutritional choices.

About the Author

Emily Harrinson is oozing with positivity that is evident in her work as an influential editor in London. She started work in a big company as one of the professional paper writers in 2006 and has been producing prolific dissertation service since then. She reads books as a hobby and dabbles in music and sports too.

 

About NutriFusion

NutriFusion develops all‐natural fruit and vegetable powders that are nutrient dense for when you do not have access to fresh produce…and even when you do to improve your vitamin intake. Sourcing only whole, non-GMO foods, NutriFusion offers consumers a concentrated micronutrient and phytonutrient-rich food ingredient blends. With a farm-to-table philosophy, NutriFusion’s proprietary process stabilizes the nutrients from perishable fruits and vegetables, allowing a longer shelf life and access to vital nutrients.

NutriFusion fruit and/or vegetable powders are for use in foods, beverages, supplements, and pet foods.

NutriFusion can help! Visit us at www.nutrifusion.com.

Eating a Healthy Balanced Diet is One of the Most Important Things Students Can Do to Protect their Health

When you ask most people around the world what it takes to be healthy, you’ll probably hear them talking about a healthy balanced diet. But what does that mean? For some people, it might mean avoiding junk food like fries and burgers. For other people, it might mean avoiding sugary foods such as candy and ice cream. When you get different answers to the same question, you can end up confused or worse, consume an unhealthy diet. In this post, we are going to talk about the benefits of consuming a healthy diet and how students can protect their health in the long run. Let’s get started!

Defining healthy eating habits

A healthy diet is usually comprised of whole foods. This means that students should consume foods that are closest to their original form. When food is processed or refined, its fiber, minerals, and vitamins get stripped and in most instances, preservatives are added. Research studies have found that plant-based diets are the best for the body because they lower the risk of chronic diseases since they usually include essential nutrients like potassium and healthy fiber. Students can cultivate a good relationship with food when they focus on adding to their plate foods that will improve their health such as berries and nuts.

A healthy diet and academic performance

To get good grades and achieve your goals, you need to consume healthy foods. In America, obesity continues to be a major problem with 34 percent of adults above the age of 20 being overweight. Changing the food and drinks that you consume will promote health and wellbeing. Students who consume healthy foods tend to perform better than their counterparts who consume junk and soda every day. It’s difficult to achieve your goals without good health. Keep in mind that health is not your birthright but something that you earn every day depending on your eating patterns and regular activities.

A healthy diet and mental health

A healthy diet does not just promote physical health but also mental health. Various research studies have shown that food choices have a huge impact on mental health. A research study conducted by Clinical Nutrition Research found out that diets rich in minerals and vitamins reduce the risk of various mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder.

A healthy diet and weight management

Being obese or overweight have been linked to a wide range of health conditions. According to the CDC, having a high body mass index means that you need to lose weight. Fortunately, consuming a high-quality diet can help you achieve your goals. Thanks to dissertation help, you can start eating mindfully. Don’t eat too fast or when you’re feeling full.

Benefits of a healthy lifestyle

The benefits of a healthy lifestyle cannot be ignored. Students who make healthy food decisions lower their risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, anxiety, and depression. You’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll have more energy every day. According to a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a healthy diet reduces the chances of early death by 56 percent. Nutritionists define a healthy diet as comprised of whole grains, nuts, vegetables, fish, and fruits. On the other hand, regular intake of junk and processed meats greatly increase the risk of early death.

Changing and improving your eating habits

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If you’ve formed the habit of eating unhealthy foods regularly, it can be difficult to change your eating habits. However, it’s not impossible. Here are a few steps that you need to take to achieve your goal:

1.       Create a plan for your healthy diet

The most effective way to change your eating habits is by creating a solid plan of action. As the popular saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. You need to create a plan that you can follow in the long run. Don’t be too harsh on yourself.

2.       Save money by carrying packed lunch

Instead of spending a few dollars buying junk food and soda for lunch, you should consider bringing your lunch to school. It’s one of the best ways to achieve your goal while saving thousands of dollars in the long run. You don’t have to cook every morning. All you need to do is pack your dinner leftovers. You can delegate tasks to essay writing service UK to find time to prepare a healthy dinner.

3.       Don’t buy unhealthy foods

If you have unhealthy foods in your kitchen or fridge, now is the best time to do away with them. You need to think of investing in high-quality foods only. This will reduce the chances of eating junk and falling back to your old habits. Before visiting the grocery store, make a shopping list that largely includes fruits and vegetables.

4.       Take baby steps

You need to focus on setting small goals that you can easily achieve. For instance, you can set a goal of consuming vegetables and fruits before supper or a smoothie every morning. It can be difficult to change your eating habits especially if you were used to consuming unhealthy foods regularly. Taking baby steps will ensure that you achieve your goals without a lot of struggle.

5.       Monitor your food choices

One of the best ways to monitor your food choices is by starting a journal. This journal is not about tracking calories but helping you to know more about your food habits. Understanding your habits is an essential step towards food behavioral changes. Revisiting your food diary regularly will help you become aware of your food choices and help you eliminate unhealthy ones.

Some of the foods that you need to include in your diet are:

  • Fruits: mango, bananas, melons, berries, and apples
  • Legumes: Lentils, beans, hummus, dried peas
  • Whole grains: Whole grain bread, millet, brown rice, quinoa, and amaranth
  • Nuts and seeds: cashew nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and sunflower

Conclusion

Students need to consume a healthy diet to live longer and become successful. By following the tips that we’ve discussed in this post, you’ll not only help yourself but the world too.

Author Bio:

Emily Harrinson is one of the most influential editors at custom essay service in the online world. She has been working in this company since 2006. Her hobby is reading books. But besides that, Emily is fond of sports and music. She is a very positive person.

 

  NutriFusion® 

NutriFusion develops all‐natural fruit and vegetable powders that are nutrient dense for when you do not have access to fresh produce…and even when you do to improve your vitamin intake. Sourcing only whole, non-GMO foods, NutriFusion offers consumers a concentrated micronutrient and phytonutrient-rich food ingredient blends. With a farm-to-table philosophy, NutriFusion’s proprietary process stabilizes the nutrients from perishable fruits and vegetables, allowing a longer shelf life and access to vital nutrients.

NutriFusion fruit and/or vegetable powders are for use in foods, beverages, supplements, and pet foods.

NutriFusion can help! Visit us at www.nutrifusion.com