Español English

Formula foods don't let the ingredients scare you!



Are formula foods part of your diet?

You will be surprised, but your answer will most certainly be yes! And it has been part of the diet of a large percentage of the population since childhood!

If we look at the extent to which we use these foods in our daily meal intake, we can say that formula foods can account for up to 75% of breakfast intake, with foods such as cereals, packaged juices, flavoured drinking yoghurts, and the list goes on. We also use them in many of our main meals. In addition, in Spain it is estimated that 90% of infant snack foods come from formula foods as does the daily diet of many of the babies in this country. So, if these foods are part of our diet and we use them regularly in one form or another, then why are we so wary of food foods such as meal replacements to help us lose weight - after all, they are also formula foods.

Perhaps the answer is that we don't always understand what formula foods are and can be frightened by the list of ingredients they may contain.

In recent times, many of us want to know the details of what is in our food and having all these foods with us has led to an even bigger trend of what is not in our food. Nowadays, there are many of us who want products with a small number of simple ingredients. In fact, the best-selling, healthy snack bar last year contained as few as five ingredients. In the industry, these types of products are known as ‘clean label’.

Overall, this concept of clean label is not a bad thing. Who wants a product with all sorts of ingredients and ‘additives’ you can’t pronounce? Actually then, the question becomes, ‘why do so many products have multiple, complex-sounding ingredients?’ To answer that question and explore this clean label concept, let’s look at an example. What if we told you about a great new food product that contained things like 2-methylbutyl ethanoate, palmitoleic acid, tryptophan, phytosterols, and food additives and E numbers like E460, E515 potassium sulphate, E101 yellow orange? What if I then told you that last colouring additive – E101 – can turn your wee bright yellow? Yikes! What a horror show, right? Umm…well…actually, no. The ingredients I just described are all found, quite naturally, along with over 30 others, in a banana. Yep, that ingredient list, which would keep a typical foodie up at night is right out of the recipe book of Mother Nature!

Now, because you may be curious, those hard-to-pronounce constituents of a banana are just natural fibres, fats, minerals, amino acids etc., and the one that gives you yellow wee is an essential B vitamin, called riboflavin. All of these are often added to foods. So obviously, the banana example shows that just because a food contains almost 40 ingredients, many of which are E numbers and/or confusing chemical names, doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy.
This is an important point when we consider formula foods, which include our Meal Replacement Products (MRPs). If a typical person read the last 20 or so ingredients of these products (the ‘Vitamin and Mineral Mixture’), some of the names would be baffling. There is no need for alarm though, as these are just bioavailable (meaning they can be absorbed and used by the body) forms of vitamins and minerals. For colours, we often use fruit and vegetable extracts from foods like beets and berries. As thickeners, we use fibres found in plants. We also add other functional ingredients like CLA (an essential fatty acid from milk), lecithin (found in soy and other plants) and oligofructose (a prebiotic, found in chicory), which have all been studied for their various health benefits.

So, as you can see, just because a product contains a variety of ingredients, which may have obscure names, does not automatically mean you should give it the cold shoulder. In fact, in the case of the weight loss formula foods we produce, they wouldn’t be nutritionally complete meal replacement products if we didn’t add over 20 essential vitamins and minerals or the essential fatty acids and proteins, all of which are vital to making them healthy formula foods.
This is why we would always advise to do your research on the ingredient lists of food and make healthy choices which will provide a balanced diet full of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.

To find out more about our product range, please visit our website. Get in touch with us and start your weight loss journey.

  • Efsalogo
    European Food Safety Authority.
    European agency for scientific advice and communication of the risks associated with the food chain.
  • Foodstandardsagencylogo
    Food Standards Agency.
    Government is the department of the United Kingdom that works to protect the public health of consumers over food.
  • Evidence Based
    Evidence based.
    Practice based on scientific evidence and the realization of medical-scientific studies that prove its certainty.