Everyday in the media we are told what we should and shouldn’t be consuming to ensure we have the right weight, the right cholesterol level, the right vitamins and so on. Sometimes the whole thing is just so overwhelming and where the information is coming from is often questionable.
Of course there is no denying that it is great we now have food and drink alternatives to cater for every minority eater (veggie, vegan, gluten free, lactose free etc.), allowing everyone to still enjoy their favorite foods in some way or another. But the popularity and press coverage of alternatives means the general population are also converting over, believing that what they were eating before wasn’t good for them.
One mustn’t forget that every food corporation has an agenda – sell sell sell! So whilst everyone is switching to oat milk lattes, what damage are we doing by following the hype?
Well Cooking Light recently stated the 7 common foods that we are being led to believe are bad for us. But in actual fact, they can still offer us some vital nutrients…
Milk is one area of the food industry that really has exploded in terms of dairy free alternatives. The list is endless; rice, oat, soya, cashew, almond etc. with each claiming to be a healthier plant based option.
In reality, each of these alternatives vary massively in their nutritional value with the impact on health not yet fully understood. For example, it has been claimed that almond milk is causing a huge pressure on almond farming causing environmental pressures whilst too much soya in a women’s diet can cause an increased risk of developing cancer. With these ‘milks’ being relatively new to the market, it is hard to know the long term impact.
Cow’s milk on the other hand has long been studied and found to be a key source of nine essential nutrients, including calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein. Plus, it won’t contain added sugar which unfortunately many non-dairy options contain.
What brunch would be complete without eggs? They are delicious, filling and provide drool worthy instagram stories when the runny yolk is broken into. Yet some criticise eggs for their saturated fat content, particularly in the yolk (hence the introduction of egg white omelettes – gross). But evidence shows eating the yolk doesn’t have the negative effect on cholesterol with eggs acting as a rich source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin D.
Recently it was found eating eggs was beneficial for eye health in particular, helping us see in the dark. Now who started the rumour it was eating carrots?
The debate of meat or no meat can be controversial for many ethical and environmental reasons, but in terms of health some claim the high saturated fat contain can be dangerous. Eaten in the right way however, red meat can offer many key nutrients, including protein and iron. Just remember to buy lean meats to help cut down on the fat content!
Eating all the fruit recommend each day can be difficult sometimes, but fret not. Professionals are mow claiming that so long as it’s 100 percent fruit juice, it can be part of a healthy eating plan. Of course eating whole fruits are valuable in providing key fibres but have a mix of the two can be just as good for you.
People often stay away from fats but they forget that there are many different types of fat. In a broad sense, we have good and bad fats. Nuts fall under the good fat category, so although fatty acids are present, eating peanuts can help reduce bad cholesterol levels while maintaining good levels. Peanuts are also a great source of protein and dietary fibre.
Potatoes have to be one of most versatile vegetables out there with many of the favourite forms coming in greasy outer layers; fries, hash browns, roasties. Because of this they are often assumed to be a bad carb but this may not be so. Kristen Smith, R.D., registered dietitian and founder of 360 Family Nutrition says:
“Potatoes actually provide several vitamins and minerals, including potassium and vitamin C. They also offer a moderate amount of fibre, especially when eaten with the skin on.”
Anyone familiar with the Atkins diet knows they made carbs the enemy including much loved bread. Of course, some breads are worse than others such as (delicious) white bread but there are also ways to get in vital nutrients.
Choosing whole wheat bread, especially if they are seeded, is an excellent source of complex carbs and fibre, as well as B vitamins, iron, and magnesium.
At the end of the day, we are very lucky to live in an age of huge variety so maybe we need to stop focusing on certain food groups and open up our range. The old saying still rings true; everything in moderation.