Jamie Who is a blog about everything. Except current affairs. And politics. Also science, sport, religion, celebrities, movies, media and marketing, technology, business and design. So...basically Jamie Who is a blog about food. All things food.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

10 foods you thought were bad for you that actually aren't

The problem nowadays is that everyone has an opinion. Look, that's just my opinion. I find it's especially true when it comes to health though. You can pick up a magazine one day that tells you what is good/bad for you only to pick up a newspaper the following week with a totally contradictory article. It's tough and confusing. Over the years I have read lots of articles about foods that you thought were healthy but actually aren't. That's fine, but what I always want to tell people is foods that are supposed to be UNHEALTHY but are actually fine in moderation. Recently I was sent an article by The Other Guy Who Can Cook which deals with some of these food types. I think it was published in the UK Style magazine but can't be sure. I'm throwing a lot of my own interpretation in there too so it's not reaaaaaaallly plagerism. More like borrowing and adding. Yes, that's a much better way to put it. 

So here we go peeps, brace yourself for some good news. Here are 10 foods that you always thought were the devil. Turns out, they are actually really good for you. 

1. Cheese. Yes, I know cheese is high in fat. It's also high in calcium and certain proteins that carry amino acids, some of which have been linked to prevention of diseases like cancer. So as long as you don't eat a piece of camembert the size of a hockey puck every night you'll be fine. 

2. Chocolate. The theory behind chocolate being good for you is a little bit of a dangerous one. See...it has recently been argued that chocolate contains high levels of antioxidants which help prevent a number of things from heart disease to premature aging. This is true, but only partly. The antioxidants are really only found in high-quality dark chocolate (70% or more). So if you buy a cheap bar of chocolate and eat it because you read somewhere that it was healthy you're kidding yourself. As with cheese, you should only have a little bit of the good stuff. 

3.  Red meat. Again, it CAN be high in fat. But what is important is that it doesn't have to be. And with red meat it is easy to see when it is. Marbled meat is f-ing delicious but it is also higher in fat so be careful. Eat it sparingly and choose leaner cuts if you are trying to be healthy. 

4. Carbs. Who can honestly tell me they can survive without carbs? (If you answered "me" then piss off. You're lying.) Carbs are actually extremely important. The right type of carbs. It's all about sugar. With processed carbs, like white bread and sugary cereals, there is a surge in sugar levels followed by a very sudden crash which can lead to cravings.  Rather go for wholegrains, quinoa, oats etc. 

5. Dried fruit. Surely by now we all know you are supposed to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Come on, EVERYBODY knows that. The confusion comes with things like tinned fruit, frozen fruit and juices. Well, dried fruit is absolutely fine but because of the fact that it has "shrunk" you should just watch how much you are chowing. Dried fruit can give you fiber and plenty of minerals and vitamins. 

6. Avocadoes. I actually hope you already know these are good for you. Some people steer clear of them because of their high fat content but what they don't know is the fact that the fat in avo's is mono-unsaturated fat which is "the good fat". It helps with cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and on top of that most mono-unsaturated fats are packed with vitamin E. 

7. Butter. Most people think margarine is healthier than butter. Most people are wrong. They both contain similar amounts of fat. As with avo's it is the TYPE of fat that is important. True, most margarines are made from unsaturated fat but some contain transfats which is like the Hitler of fats. Honestly, you don't want to see transfats anywhere on a diet. Basically the deal here is neither butter nor fat is healthy, so use them sparingly. Definitely don't use margarine thinking you are taking the better option - that is not necessarily true. 

8. Coffee. I can't touch it, but research lately seems to be showing that a cup of coffee can speed up the metabolism process as well as the obvious other benefits of increasing endurance, performance and stamina. (sounds like the researchers mixed up their papers with the work they did on viagra)

9. Sugar. This is only healthy when compared to sweeteners. The problem with sweeteners is that when the body takes them in it prepares itself for more calories. If these don't arrive the body then needs more food or burns less energy. Both result in weight being added on, not lost. If you have to get a sweet kick, rather do it naturally.

10. Late-night snacks. For years the argument has been that if you eat late at night your body doesn't have time to burn off the calories. Common sense says that what is way more important is how many calories you eat throughout the day. If you go to bed having eaten less calories than you have burned, you are absolutely fine. So have a little something before you go to bed. Just don't have a big something. Simple, no?

Sho, that was quite a post. Maybe not as funny/interesting as some of my others but definitely something important that I feel strongly about. Food is there to be enjoyed and people need to keep that in mind. You can be health-orientated without deprivation. Just reward yourself with the good-quality products and eat them in moderation. 

Jamie Who


Amanda said...

Margarine is actually worse than butter since people tend to use much more of it. Why? Because it doesn't taste as good as butter so you use more to get the desired flavour (and it still doesn't taste as good).

dK said...

Nice one

Marisa said...

Couldn't agree more!! Esp regarding the whole sweetener & margerine thing. When are people going to learn that fake foods are not the answer.

Dave said...

So butter is bad for you because it has the wrong fats and margarine is bad for you despite having the right fats?

Some explanation required please

Canvas Photos said...

Great tips. Thanks for sharing these.

Anonymous said...

Well... that's amazing but to be honest i have a hard time understanding it... wonder what others have to say..

sewpers said...

Nice one Jaimie, I like when you you mix it up with these types of posts!!