We all know that the chances are pre-made meals bought from the supermarket probably contain different ingredients than you would put in them if you were to cook them from scratch.
The focus is mostly put on extra sugar, salt and fat, which can make meals a lot more unhealthy than home-cooked versions. However, it seems that there is a lot more extra ingredients going into your ready meals.
Not looking at the labels could mean that you’re eating dozens of extra ingredients in your favourite dishes. In fact, in Britain people eat, on average, 121 different ingredients every day, which is around three times more than we think.
According to Rob Hobson, a nutritionist who has just led a new study, some of our favourite dishes have a huge number of ingredients in them, which wouldn’t be the case if you cooked them from scratch. Some of the worst offenders were fish pie with 31 ingredients and classic lasagne, which had 51 ingredients in total!
Mr Hobson said: “Each day, we consume far more ingredients than we think.
“Most people think that the food they eat is much more simple and pure than it actually is, I would urge shoppers to look at the labels on their food and drink so they are aware of what ingredients they are consuming.”
While some of the ingredients are to be expected – after all, you can’t have a chicken and mushroom pie without the two named ingredients – others are things you wouldn’t consider adding to your recipe. You may add white pepper to your pie for flavour, but not many of us would think of throwing in monosodium glutamate or the other extras that mean these pies can include 36 ingredients.
Not all food you can pick up in the supermarket that is ready to eat contains loads of extras. The nutritionist also revealed that some products are just as simple as you would expect and some actually have fewer ingredients than you’d think.
For example, Meridian peanut butter has just one ingredient, while Ryvita Dark Rye Crispbreads have only three ingredients, making them just as simple as you’d hope they would be.
To get a good idea of what is in your food and to keep an eye out for unhealthy extras, it’s always worth checking the labels on what you’re putting in your trolley. While it may be a bit more complicated to cook food from scratch, if you can half the ingredients and make it healthier, it’s probably a good way to go.