9. Ready meals cause excess weight
It’s easy to grab a ready meal out of the fridge at the end of a busy day – but if you’re over 50, it could be one of the worst things you could do for your health.
Ready meals can be calorie bombs – and if you regularly consume high calorie foods, you’re likely to put on weight, particularly as you age. Once you hit 50, your metabolism is slower than it was in your 20’3, 30’s and even 40’s – making it harder to lose weight and easier to put it on.
This isn’t great news because excess weight can lead to obesity, which puts you at a much higher risk of many serious conditions. But weight gain isn’t the only damage eating ready meals can wreak on your body, as they’re loaded with salt, sugar, artificial sweeteners and saturated fat. Many of them also lack an adequate amount of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
All that salt can seriously elevate your blood pressure, placing a strain on your heart – one study showed that eating 5 grams more salt per day than the recommended level of 6 grams, ups your risk of cardiovascular disease by a whopping 17%!
The saturated fat that so many ready meals are stuffed with can clog arteries, leading to atherosclerosis, which can result in a heart attack or stroke. There are ready meals on the shelves that claim to be healthier but this isn’t usually the case – many so-called “healthy meals” contain artificial sweeteners to replace the sugar and salt and improve the taste.
Research links artificial sweeteners like sucralose with a long list of health problems, including metabolic syndrome and cancer.
It’s best to avoid reaching for ready meals if you can – swapping them for healthier snacks like nuts when you’re on the go, or cooking from scratch at home. This doesn’t take as much time as you think and you can keep things as simple as you like. Why not search for some tasty meal ideas to whip up at home in minutes, as the internet is great inspiration for healthy, quick dishes?