Healthy foods – Are they really healthy ?

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Some foods that we eat, may seem healthy. But the question is “Are Health Foods really Healthy?”

Nutritional labels of many brands shout phrases such as “Low cholesterol, Low fat, No added sugar, organic foods, multigrain” etc. However, unhealthy choices lurk among even the most-healthy seeming foods.

For instance, chewing onto a energy candy or granola bars. It may seem extremely nutritious and providing one enough energy. There lies the MYTH! The high energy comes from the high calories coming from high fats and high sugar in the bar.

There’s no magic, but simply Hidden Diet Hazards

Smoothies-Comparison

Home made smoothies include healthier ingredients such as: fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh sprouts, hung curd, super foods such as aloe vera and berries, herbs and spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mint, etc), raw nuts, flax seeds and oil, chia seeds and chia seed gel.
Restaurant/Cafe smoothies include unhealthy ingredients such as: ice cream and sherbet, chocolate syrups and powders, sugar as a sweetener, peanut butters, cheap protein powders, chocolate pudding mix, whipped cream and cream soda.

Juices

Natural juices contain all the vitamins, minerals, fluids, enzymes, amino acids thereby helping the body by :

  • Assisting with digestion
  • Providing energy
  • Protecting against oxidation
  • Renewing cells
  • Enriching blood
Bottled juice is pasteurized and the nutrients are depleted. Juices from fruit concentrates do not contain the whole fruits and they may be nothing more than sugar water. Acids from juices can leech metal from cans, causing canned juice to spoil. Shrink- wrapped juice cartons comes under high heat that depletes enzymes in juice.

Sweets

Regular sweets are surely a better option! Though they contain natural sugar, they will reduce one’s sweet craving as compared to the “Sugar-free sweets”.

Sugar free foods are surely not healthy! The sugar free version, which uses artificial sweeteners, actually makes one eat more, causing no weight loss.

Bread

Though it does not contain the nutrient rich essentials of wheat flour, a slice of white bread would be better to consume over artificially made brown bread.

Though believed to contain the bran and germ of wheat flour, brown bread is surely not a healthier choice. Brown bread could contain brown colour, a caramel essence, thus depriving it of all the desired nutrients.

Fruits

Fresh fruits have been recognized as a good source vitamins, minerals and fiber and for their role in preventing Vitamin C and Vitamin A deficiencies. Fruits are an important source of many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folate.

Dried fruits, for sure, has got fibre, but also tons of sugar and sulphur for its long term preservation. It contains 3 times more calories than its fresh counterparts.

Soy-Milk

Being a good protein source, the regular soy milk contains no added artificial sugar very little or no milk sugar(lactose), thus lowering cholesterol.

Soy is definitely a good source of protein and potassium. But drinking the vanilla & chocolate, loads up your drink with sugar and unwanted calories.

Yogurt

Home-made yogurt is a better choice as :

  • It tastes way better.
  • It is a healthier choice of quality ingredients.
  • Free from preservatives
  • Improves digestion
  • Can be had with fresh fruits and a drizzle of honey.
Fat free foods are completely “not-so-fat-free”. Its not the fat that makes one fat, it’s the sugar that does. Even if your yogurt is fruit flavoured, it is NOT healthy.

Sushi

Sashimi is thinly sliced raw meat—usually fish, such as salmon or tuna—that is served without rice. Fish-based sashimi is high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish, rice & seaweed – Why isn’t sushi healthy? These rolls are filled with cream cheese and spicy mayonaisse, is more vinegared rice than raw meat and would be as good as eating 1 McDonald’s burger. Contains more calories because of the white rice as compared to sashimi rolls.

Cooking-Oil

Healthy cooking oils contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Eating foods rich in either of these fats will help to improve your heart health and play a role in your blood sugar control. Some healthy sources are olive, canola safflower, sesame, soy, corn and sunflower seed oils.

Unhealthy cooking oils, made from plants, are “Vegetable Oils” that contain a higher percentage of saturated fat. These products are known as tropical oils and includes coconut, palm and palm kernel oil.

Butter

Though made from animal fat, but free of “Statins”, buttering up your food in moderate amounts once in a way is a healthier way over calorically loaded margarines such as “Nutralites”.

Though made from vegetable oils, all margarines are not trans-free. They contain more preservatives such as “Statins”, causing an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The healthy myth’s considered unhealthy!

Energy-BarsEnergy and granola bars : 

Extremely high in fats, sugars and calories. The name “low-fat” just swaps sugar for fat and as many calories than regular versions. Lesson Learnt: AVOID these bars completely.

Salads with unhealthy fatty dressings : 

Vegetables are healthy. Yes! But the question is “Are The Salad Dressings Healthy?” Lesson Learnt: Before ordering a salad, check all the dressings and other add-on’s.

Ice-Cream

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Gelato v/s Ice Cream : 

Gelato is more creamy and dense than ice cream and is often lower in calories, fat and sugar. Depending on the type and portion size you choose, gelato may not always be a healthier option than ice cream.

Fruit-flavoured gelato may also contain additional sugar due to the natural sugars found in fruit. Many gelato shops top gelato with chocolate or fruit sauces, which also increase calories and sugar. Reality : Ice creams would be a healthier option over dense gelatos.

Do justice by reading the nutritional label carefully
Nutrition-Facts

Doesn’t sound natural anymore, does it ?

Khyati Rupani

Khyati Rupani

Ex - Chief Dietitian at Lilavati Hospital (RKHS) and founder of Balance Nutrition - an online weight loss & lifestyle management clinic with more than 1000 satisfied customers. Khyati has developed over 500 health recipes that are tasty and yet extremely healthy for overweight individuals. She is the author of 'Getting rid of Obesity', an MBD Publication. Khyati is on the panel of ECA 'Early Childhood Association' and has lectured on Nutrition and Diet at institutes offering training courses for Dietitians. You can connect with Khyati Rupani on www.balancenutrition.in, where she provides personalised nutrition therapy to people all over the world, helping them lead better, healthier lives.
Khyati Rupani

1 Comment

  1. Hi Khyati, . i read the article. I have couple of questions…
    1: what we get in hyper and super markets are the refined oils. what we technically need-if I am not wrong is filtered oils and not refined oils. From where do I procure “healthy” oils in Doha? Could NRI Cafe or you play a guiding role in this?
    2: Hung Curds and butter Milk strictly made at home is definitely a very good idea but how do I manage that in Doha where MILK here is homogenized and not fresh like MILK in India? Eating fresh , eating right does seem like a great idea but how do you eat healthy when potatoes come from cold storage where starch has turned to unhealthy sugars on a daily basis and you actually don’t know when the veggies and fruit have been plucked, packed and loaded in air-crafts for their onward journey to the Gulf and how they have been kept and preserved in the local Gulf Markets! Your guidance would be a blessing for people like us who have spent lifetime in Gulf breathing unhealthy air conditioned air!- Thanks.

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