Healthyfoodsthataren't:howtotell

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In those holier than thou moments, it’s easy to find yourself in the health food aisle of your supermarket, loading up on LSA and chia seeds and gluten-free muesli bars. 

But how much of that ‘healthy’ food is actually good for you, and what should we be leaving on the shelf?

We investigate some health food ‘staples’ that have no place there:

1

Low-fat anything

We need the natural fat that's in dairy, not the modified and processed 'low fat' versions of products. Research now shows that full fat, natural dairy in fact has a positive effect in chronic disease prevention. When fat is removed from something, sugars and other artificial filling agents are often added back into the food - which are, ironically, the things that make us store fat!

2

Agave syrup

This 'natural' (it's from a cactus) sweetener is actually 92% fructose, which is too much for the liver to process. Ideally 'healthy' sweeteners should be fructose free (such as rice malt syrup), or low fructose (such as honey and maple syrup).

3

GM foods

Foods that are genetically modified (can come from soy, corn and other grains) are no good for our endocrine (hormonal) system, gut, immunity and brain function overall. Definitely best avoided.

4

'Activated' nuts

'Activating' does minimise the phytic acid (a coating on many nuts/grains/seeds/legumes), so allows for easier digestion but it doesn’t make them any better for you. If you’re nuts for nuts, it’s better to eat them raw (not roasted). FYI walnuts and macadamia nuts are highest in omega 3s and contain no phytic acid. 

5

Egg white liquid

Eurgh, believe it or not, it's a thing. Unless you're making meringues or pavlova, you don't want to be separating your egg whites from yolks. Although most of the protein is in the white, all the nutrients are in the yolk. Also, the body does not digest the protein (in the white) without the yolk present, so eating the whole egg is the most nutritious combo. There is also no link between egg consumption and heart disease, so people needn't shy away from them!

6

Multivitamins

Overall, multis are not very effective. The individual nutrient composition of each vitamin/mineral is so minimal that if you were deficient in anything, it wouldn't be an effective dosage. If you're after something to 'boost' the immune system, fish oil is a far better bet. 

7

Fibre supplements

These are highly synthetic and unnecessary. By eating small, but regular, amounts of nuts/seeds/certain grains, fruits and vegetables (leave the skin on!), you'll easily meet your fibre target.

8

Fruit juice

This is essentially liquid sugar. Fruit needs to be eaten in its whole form, as keeping the fibre intact decreases the negative effect straight fructose (the main sugar in fruit) has on the body. Opt for a homemade smoothie with a little bit of fruit and yoghurt and/or veggies instead.

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