Those low-fat, low-taste alternatives passed off as ‘health foods’ could, in fact, be costing you your health. It’s easy to be misled with labels such as ‘high fiber’, and ‘natural’. In reality, many so called ‘healthy’ foods contain high levels of fat, sugar and salt. Reading the ingredient list and nutrition facts column could help you choose the right items. Here’s a round up of the things you consider good that may actually be bad:
You think honey is healthier and more natural than sugar? You are wrong. Both contain similarly high levels of glucose. Because honey is denser, one tablespoon actually contains more calories than the same sized spoonful of granulated sugar. Eat too much honey and you’ll gain just as much weight as you will gorging on other sweet stuff.
Low-fat salad dressing
Scientists at Iowa State University, US, have found that low-fat dressing cancels out the goodness in salad. Conversely, using olive oil, or a little butter, boosted vitamin intake because fat helps your body absorb nutrients from vegetables more efficiently.
Studies show that people who eat cereal for breakfast tend to be slimmer than those who don’t — but only if they’re opting for a healthy brand. Choose the wrong box and you may as well start your day with a slice of cake, as some cereals are high in sugar and fat. The main ones to watch out for are your flavoured, chocolate and sugar-coated or frosted kids’ ones. So always read the label. Not that you need to skip the cereal aisle altogether — experts agree that tucking into a bowl of porridge or any other wholegrain cereal is actually healthy. Naturally low in calories and high in fibre, these will help keep you fuller for longer and ward off midmorning snacking.
Although guzzling whole milk has been demonised as a health no-no in recent years, research shows that it could be a better choice than its skimmed counterpart.
Whole milk only contains around 4 per cent fat per 100ml as opposed to the 20 per cent plus deemed to be in the ‘high fat’ category. Skimmed milk contains 0.1 per cent fat. So switching from whole to skimmed milk won’t make a huge difference.
Skimmed milk is less nutritious because cream contains fatsoluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Research reveals that full-fat milk boosts metabolism and help you burn more calories, while also lowering the risk of heart disease.
Cooking is believed to kill the vitamins and minerals, but studies have found the opposite. While cooking may destroy some (but not all) vitamin C, the process boosts the uptake of disease-fighting nutrients — antioxidants. A 2008 study found that vegetables such as carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage and peppers supply more antioxidants when cooked than when eaten raw. This is because cooking breaks down vegetables’ thick cell walls, making it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients they contain. Steaming is best, then gentle boiling. Frying preserves the least vitamins and minerals.
They seem like a straightforward way for soft drink lovers to cut calories but experts think diet drinks could actually scupper weight loss. While the artificial sweeteners in such drinks can convince the taste buds they’re consuming sugar, the brain can’t be tricked so easily. When it’s denied the calories it’s expecting, your body goes on a calorie hunt, making you feel hungry and eat more. Which is why consuming diet drinks can make people more likely to pile on weight, than reduce it.