Navigating the Fake Foods Saga: Paving the Way for a Healthier Future

The proliferation of counterfeit or substandard food items has become an alarming concern, yet within this disconcerting landscape, there exists a silver lining—Whole Foods.  Unlike their highly processed counterparts, Whole Foods like sweet potatoes, plantains, or fruits and vegetables

remain untainted by the infiltration of imitation food currently in the market. So far, the counterfeit or substandard foods have been of sauces and sodas and other highly processed foods.

I have seen people make funny jokes online about the fake sauces, sodas and other foods but we shouldn’t just laugh because eating such foods can be bad for our health.

Nigeria, endowed with an abundance of wholesome options, finds itself at a crossroads where the populace is veering away from incorporating these nutritious alternatives into their daily diets.

A recent poll revealed that the most popular foods among the masses are predominantly highly processed: white rice, spaghetti, instant noodles, and white bread. The problem is these foods have been stripped of their nutritional value to accommodate for taste (adding sodium, sugar & trans-fat) and a prolonged shelf life.

One major reason many people eat more processed foods is accessibility. You can get them at most restaurants and street food places. But even though they’re convenient, eating too much of them can make us sick. Lifestyle diseases like Type 2diabetes and high blood pressure are more common when we eat too many highly processed foods.

Real, Whole Foods are a better choice. Fresh veggies and whole grains that haven’t been changed too much are good for us in many ways. They don’t just fill our stomachs; they also keep us healthy. Choosing Whole Foods means you are making a better decision for your long-term health.

Health Experts’ advice that whole foods should take centre stage in our diets while highly processed foods play a featured role. This is exactly what I did three years ago when I tweaked my standard Nigerian diet. I simply gave more priority to whole foods and that’s my intention for writing this article.

The fake food saga is quite disheartening. It’s deeply worrisome that people are willing to sacrifice the health and wellbeing of others at the altar of profits.

The alarming spread of fake foods raises pertinent questions:

-How many other fake foods go undetected?

-What level of damage these foods cause to our bodies?

These incidents also reminded me of the key role that our institutions need to play to preserve the lives of the populace. The Late Dora Akunyili played a critical role as the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria.

During her tenure at NAFDAC, which began in 2001, Akunyili took significant steps to combat counterfeit and substandard drugs in Nigeria. She implemented various reforms and initiatives to improve the quality of pharmaceutical products in the country, protect public health, and enhance the regulatory framework for food and drugs.  

Dora Akunyili’s legacy is marked by her tireless efforts to improve public health, ensure drug safety, and combat corruption in Nigeria. She remains a symbol of courage and integrity in the country’s public service history.

I have been on a mission to get more people to eat more whole foods and less processed foods for the last three years. My personal health transformation raised my consciousness to the value of whole foods and the importance of limiting highly processed foods. So, when these stories broke the internet, I identified another opportunity to push the whole food agenda.

The journey towards a Whole Foods-centric diet requires a paradigm shift—one that necessitates a departure from the familiar comfort of processed staples. Educating the public about the nutritional superiority of Whole Foods and fostering an appreciation for their diverse and flavourful offerings can be instrumental in effecting this change.

Community initiatives and nutritional awareness campaigns can contribute to redefining dietary norms and encouraging a return to wholesome, unadulterated eating.

Truth is that whole foods are almost impossible to create fake versions of because the source of the food is from the ground. It’s formed from seeds and not from labs, so the controlling force isn’t easily manipulated as highly processed foods.

Beyond the individual level, governmental and regulatory bodies must play a pivotal role in safeguarding the nation’s food integrity. Strengthening food quality standards, enforcing stringent regulations on food labelling, and imposing severe penalties for counterfeit practices are imperative steps to mitigate the pervasive issue of fake or substandard food items.

Fake foods are a big problem, but we have a chance to make things better by choosing Whole Foods. It’s time to rethink what we eat, go for real food, and build a healthier and stronger nation—one plate of Whole Foods at a time.

To sum it up, you are responsible for your health and wellbeing and it’s imperative to get better educated about food so you can make better food choices.

As much as you can choose natural food options. Foods with identifiable natural states that haven’t been re-engineered for taste and extended shelf life. With a less than average healthcare system in Nigeria, your health is literally your greatest asset, and that consciousness will help you choose superior foods over others.

You can reach out to me if you have more questions about whole foods, you want me to teach a lecture to your team members on this topic or you want to order a whole food meal plan.

Send an email to [email protected].

Thank you for taking the time to read and prioritize your health.

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