When it comes to foods and diets, it often turns out that what we believed to be true is false and vice versa. With the ever-changing nutritional guidelines, how can we be sure that the foods we are consuming are actually healthy? According to new research, some foods that we believed were ‘bad’ might be good for our health. The study in question focused on some of the most common stereotypes and came to the conclusion that even those foods deemed ‘unhealthy’ have various health benefits.
Nutritional sciences lecturer at King’s College London Scott Harding paid special attention to five ‘unhealthy’ foods, concluding that eggs, fat spreads, potatoes, dairy and raw nuts are not the ‘villains’ in a healthy, well-balanced diet. Here are his findings:
Often avoided as bad for the heart, eggs should definitely find their place on your table. Though you might argue that one egg, which contains 185mg of cholesterol, raises blood cholesterol levels, leading to life-threatening conditions, research has shown that this is simply not the case. To be precise, eggs will not worsen your cholesterol levels – they will not influence them one bit. However, they will keep you healthy, as they are packed with protein, healthy fats and several vitamins and minerals.
Everyone in their right mind will tell you that fat spreads such as margarine and butter are bad for your health, right? Margarine, which is considered one of the worst foods you can eat, has been used as a butter replacement since the 19th century. It became super popular because it was cheaper than butter and because health professionals wholeheartedly recommended margarine consumption. Though people took in less saturated fat, they ate more trans fat, which resulted in the rise of heart disease. Afterward, food manufacturers started producing trans fat-free margarine. However, people were still unsure whether they should eat margarine, believing that it would increase their risk of heart disease. Well, margarine is safe to eat, as long as it doesn’t contain ‘partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.’
Even though they are vegetables, potatoes are considered unhealthy due to their high glycemic index. They also have a bad reputation as food made from refined carbohydrates. On the other hand, research says that they are loaded with carbohydrates, vitamin C, some B vitamins and trace minerals. Moreover, when you cook and eat potatoes, you are actually helping digestion.
Once very popular foods, milk, butter, yogurt and cheese have recently gained a notorious reputation, leading to many people avoiding the previously-loved staple foods. Dairy products contain a lot of protein and calcium, but that’s not a bad thing; on the contrary, our bodies need protein and calcium to function optimally. Basically, this is not something you should worry about. What you should avoid are dairy products with high amounts of saturated fat per portion. All the other products are perfectly fine to consume on a regular basis.
As you can see, you can eat all foods and still remain healthy. Mr. Harding concludes that no one should ever ‘‘fall into the trap’’ of labeling foods as ‘superfoods’ and ‘food villains,’ saying that the ‘‘enthusiastic consumption of one particular ‘superfood’ can be worse than consuming a so-called ‘food villain’.’’