What has happened to our food? Are nutritional supplements necessary?

Nutrition Facts. Poor food.Are supplements needed?

Nutrition Facts: Is this a way forward?

I worked as a hospital doctor then as a GP for 27 years before I had to retire due to chronic pain from arachnoiditis. I needed a couple of years to get used to the new me before deciding to invest in a new start-up which is Actwell International which specialises in nutritional supplements.

It wasn’t long before my knowledge of nutritional food supplements, as that of my wife, also a retired physician, became exposed for what it was. Zero, nuttin, zilch, bugger all and any other term you wish to add.

How so? The main reason is that supplements and nutrition was never formally covered in our medical student curricula. Even today the addition of nutrition into the medical curriculum is not mandatory though recent research is starting to inform the issue. So nothing has really changed in 30 years and counting. It remains a glaring omission from the syllabus.

We picked up the mantra – “a normal diet suffices” – whilst learning our trade from our tutors and consultants, without ever questioning the creed.

So back to Actwell International. We knew we had to update our knowledge and reduce our ignorance of the subject of supplements and nutrition. This has been an eye-opener and as with anything, learning never ends as long as you strive to learn.

What was learnt?

  • The food we eat and the way we shop and eat are stacked against adequate nutrition.
  • The processes used to prepare ready meals (RM) and the additives in RM are detrimental to the nutritional content of the RM. Horse meat will be looked at in a bit.
  • Our children are victims of an inevitable crawl toward obesity, due to fast food, junk food, and sedentary play.
  • Our fear of child kidnapping and such like have made us almost like prison guards to the people we love most in our lives – our kids. This behavoiur as well as the use of Factor 15 and above sunscreens have caused a crash in Vitamin D levels. Rickets is reappearing in children.

    Horse meat properly sourced is not poor food and is nutritious

    A butcher shop specializing in horse meat in Pezenas (languedoc, France) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Supermarkets, globilization and corporate greed, have robbed us of choice in our hunt for nutritious food. The pressure on the supply chain is now creating short cuts and criminal behaviour. The recent horse meat scandal is an iceberg tip against which the big food businesses have had their Titanic moment. Personally I don’t dislike horse meat, maybe a bit too gamey, but I do dislike the idea that we are eating what previously would have gone to the glue factory.
  • We have no power to redress this imbalance as the high street butcher, baker, green grocer, fish monger and game merchant have gone.

All the above are real problems when trying to feed a family, especially when budgets are very tight. self-regulation by the food industry is not working and has never worked when profits are the focus of the businesses involved.

Are we to going to have Cameron whingeing again in a Commons statement that regulating the food industry will cause untold suffering to us all? Are we to get another Leveson type inquiry which will be ignored by our lords and masters because it threatens the post MP life line aka pig trough of non-executive directorships. These fall from industrial heaven onto the shoulders of the undeserving self promoters that inhabit the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

A good beef carcass is around £1200. A similar size horse carcass is less than £200. The arithmetic is astounding. Someone is profiting enormously through injecting horse meat into the food chain.

It may be that horse carcasses have been switched with beef carcasses somewhere in the convoluted supply chain that has come to light. One of the links in the chain could switch the carcasses and then sell the beef carcasses on the black market. This has to be so as beef carcasses traded in the EU are traceable via their passport and stamp marks.

So what to do?

  • Learn how to cook, not buy more and more recipe books.
  • Eat at a table.
  • Have meal times.
  • Buy fresh ingredients.
  • Buy food that is safe. Look at the labels for fat, salt and sugar content.
  • Be confident about buying food that has been marked down due to the sell by date. Safe by dates can be found by an internet search.
  • Avoid processed food and ready meals if possible.
  • If it is cheap, it is likely to be nasty.

As a fail safe many people turn to vitamin and other nutritional supplements. Here though there are traps to avoid. The use of terms such as “rich in content”, “high in content” , “concentrated” and the like tell you nothing about how much of any ingredient in a supplement actually exists.

Many supplement fads are due to marketeers using tried and tested advertising techniques to lure the customer to try new and expensive “super foods” or compounds that have never been properly researched or tested.

Actwell International have a different culture. We sell nutraceutical products. These are made to the same exacting standards as pharmaceutical products; we are able to say exactly how much of each compound exists in the supplements we sell. Quality assurance procedures are routine in the creation of the supplements, and the formulation of our liquid supplements ensure that rapid and maximum absorption takes place as the supplement passes through the gut.


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Link1 Antioxidants.  Link2 Epigenetics

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