Online Grocery Shopping a Cause for Concern

Food products in stores are changing. Shoppers easily find more processed, attractively packaged, and conveniently prepared meals. With online shopping, the way these products are now selected and put in the cart has changed too. For that, consumers may be paying more than just the price of inflation.

Online food shopping has become the norm for many people. Home delivery of groceries may be a convenience, but consumers are losing their moment of discernment. Even if online customers take the time to click through product pages checking nutritional information, in-store shopping assistants frequently turn to substitute products and don’t take notice when ingredients in products have changed.

Food deliveries arrive with frequent surprises. “That’s not what I ordered,” must be among the pandemic’s defining phrases.

Online grocery shopping is a double-edged sword. It may increase healthy choices by reducing unhealthy impulse purchases and help overcome food access limitations for some. But it also increases unhealthy choices due to consumers’ reluctance, for example, to purchase fresh produce online.

High fiber cereal is a good start on a grocery list. Regular consumption of high-fiber, low-sugar cereal is associated with lower risk of obesity and diabetes. When online purchases result in the delivery of cereals sweetened with sucralose, sugar, and syrup, one could argue it’s safer to eat the box!

Changes in the way food makes it to market and to the table call for more vigilance by consumers. Kids and parents fail to realize that more processed foods, more calories from sugar, and more salt for preservation and taste are the start of future trouble.

A focus on fiber alone tells an important story. Most North Americans consumers are eating less than 10-15 grams of fiber a day. But the recommended intake is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Take a look at your bowel movement. If the content floats, you’re getting sufficient fiber.

Insufficient fiber is associated with a higher risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which in turn lead to greater risk of heart attack, blindness, kidney failure and losing a leg due to hardening of arteries.

Millions of people suffer from chronic constipation due to a lack of fiber. Grunting through bowel movements can trigger small hernias in the large bowel that may cause inflammation, sometimes perforation of the intestines and emergency surgery. Remember, no surgeon can guarantee a risk-free operation.

Years ago, Dr. Denis Burkitt, an English researcher, reported that African societies consuming large amounts of fiber did not suffer from constipation or appendicitis.

Later Dr. Thomas L Cleaves, a surgeon aboard the battleship King George V, was suffering from constipation. So were the sailors. Unprocessed brand cured Cleaves and the sailors.

What’s the magic of fiber? It holds water in the digestive system, producing stools soft as toothpaste. Fiber is filling, decreasing the hunger reflex. Drinks containing the equivalent of eight teaspoons of sugar have no effect on satisfying the appetite. The solution: eat an apple, loaded with fiber.

Knowing what you want is also knowing what you must give up to get it. Say no to sugar laden cereals. Getting this message through, especially to parents, is not easy. But setting the course for obesity and Type 2 diabetes is punishing their chances for a long, healthy life.

It’s not just sugar. It’s too many calories and lack of exercise as well.

Shop smart. Monitor weight daily by stepping on a scale. See if your stools float. And, read more at about ways to ensure a healthier and longer life.

Sign-up at to receive our weekly e-newsletter. For comments, Follow us on Instagram @docgiff and @diana_gifford_jones