6 (Semi) Healthy Foods That Get a Bad Rap
Sarah Krupp | DivineCaroline
January 11, 2011
For years, nutrition advice could be summed up something like this: If you like eating or drinking (fill in the blank), it’s bad for you. Health experts blacklisted sugar, butter, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and eggs. The Grim Reaper, it seemed, doubled as tiramisu cake. So we abstained from these forbidden foods or flagellated ourselves while indulging in them. No longer! Researchers have found that these foods are less sinful than we thought, and in some cases, can actually provide health benefits. Find out what makes these “bad” foods not so bad after all.
1. A Good Egg
Nutritional experts had long maligned eggs because they are high in cholesterol, but more recent research revealed that saturated fat—not cholesterol—poses the greatest risk. Plus, eggs provide protein, iron, and lutein, a nutrient that helps stem age-related eyesight decline. (Spinach and other leafy greens are also good sources of lutein.) The American Dietetic Association considers eating eggs in moderation a healthy habit and suggests removing some of the egg yolks to reduce fat and cholesterol. For example, in a recipe that calls for two whole eggs, the association recommends substituting with two egg whites and one whole egg.
2. The Case for Coffee
Forgoing coffee was like a badge of honor in health nut circles, but not any longer. Recent studies have refuted caffeine’s link to heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure. In addition, health experts now tell us that filling up our mugs has health benefits. According to the American Medical Association, regular coffee drinkers are less likely to have type II diabetes and their caffeine habit may reduce the risk of developing colon cancer, liver disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers have also seen a reduced risk of dementia among people who drink three to five cups of coffee a day.
3. Sweet Sin or Simply Sugar?
Cane sugar earned a bad rap, sparking a move to replace it with everything from honey to concentrated fruit juice. Studies show that the substitutes are no better than the real deal. Whatever the original source, consuming too many of these sweet simple carbohydrates can cause health problems like obesity, type II diabetes, and tooth decay. Yet, cane sugar can be part of a healthful diet in reasonable quantities. The World Health Organization recommends limiting added sugar to 10 percent of daily calorie intake. And as for the new pariah, high fructose corn syrup, the nutrition gurus say that it’s probably no better or worse than all the rest. Although food marketers are taking advantage of the public’s negative perception of high fructose corn syrup, experts say that consumers shouldn’t be fooled by the new marketing techniques. In terms of your health, it’s the calories that count.