We love sharing food. Not necessarily in its physical sense but on social media. Let’s admit it, we have all tagged a meal picture as #scrumptious well before tasting it at some point.

Personally, I have upgraded my food photography skills for the virtual treasure troves of #foodporn, #instafood and #delicious Instagram stories. This is one of the many ways in which our food consumption habits have changed tremendously.

If you are a fitness freak, this question is for you: when was the last time you saw food as a source of happiness beyond its bifurcation as protein, fat, or carbs?

We judge food on its visual appeal like never and do not hesitate to rip a packet open guilt-free in the name of ‘low fat’ or ‘sugar-free’.

What we fail to realise is that food is one of the most lucrative businesses in the world. Food trends and business owners majorly influence our eating habits.

When obesity was acknowledged as a global issue, the multinationals built profitable businesses through gyms, crash diets, weight loss foods, health magazines and the infamous ‘before and after’ home fitness DVDs.

The next time you walk into a supermarket, take a minute to notice the aisles stacked with chemically induced food labelled as ‘healthy’.  

The power lies in the hands of conglomerates who develop food trends with a simple aim to sell as much food as possible.

Rujutha Diwekar, a renowned nutritionist revealed that fat was the villain in the 1970s resulting in an inundation of low-fat products in the market.

Currently, sugar and carbs hold the villainous title, restoring the long lost faith in fat. This was further substantiated when Michelle Obama proposed recommendations to “draw attention away from dietary fat while casting light on an even less nutritious ingredient - added sugar’’.

Soon protein will be cast as the villain and promotion of vegan products have started the movement.  

So how do we proceed from here on? Does coconut water, dahi, rose sharbat, cashew halwa, jowar roti – transport you to your childhood? I hope it does.

The trick lies in going back to the basics. Cutting back on processed food and restoring the original eating habits instilled by our parents is the best way to eat. Pick idli over oats for breakfast, parantha over pitas for lunch and curd rice over pasta salad for dinner.

We as Indians are blessed to inherit food wisdom and delicious recipes from our ancestors.

It is imperative to empower ourselves with knowledge about food industries and make wiser food choices before getting trapped in the vicious circle of regaining and losing weight and providing perennial revenue to food and diet industries.

Author | Akanksha Mehra Haridasani, author