I picked up someone’s discarded paper on the tube the other day as I saw the headline “10 Healthy Foods That Aren’t So Healthy”. I then realised it was in a supplement from The Sun, so was inclined to ignore it. Not because I’m a total snob about reading tabloids - I’ve been known to read the odd trashy mag, so I don’t feel I should judge. But I imagined it was too main stream to have up-to- date nutritional information. However, Tooting Bec to Hampstead is a long way, so I thought I’d have a quick glance through.
Much to my surprise, the information was pretty accurate – or at least as far as the most recent science goes. There were the obvious ones, like the fact that breakfast biscuits are pretty much just biscuits i.e. not really a substitute for a decent meal to start the day and best kept down to the odd treat. The reality that frozen yoghurt is hardly a better option than ice-cream was also mentioned, along with the fact that low fat salad dressings are just a chemical/sugar soup.
More astounding was the section on margarine, which many people still cling to as a healthy alternative to butter. Whilst starting as a nice polyunsaturated oil, it is heated to high temperatures, causing formation of trans fats which are known to be terrible for our health. I really do try and advocate balance when it comes to nutrition, and not getting too hung up on so called "bad" foods, as most things are fine in moderation and as part of an overall healthy diet. But I do draw the line at margarine and fake butter spreads. Just have the real thing - nothing wrong with a little bit of good quality butter.
This leads nicely to the next section which goes on to add that avoiding saturated fat at all costs is pretty out dated, as the latest research has found that the previous advice on limiting saturated fat is based on some weak and downright dubious evidence. They even go as far as to say that the long held belief that keeping cholesterol from the diet as low as possible is no longer seen as the key to heart health. The most recent advice is that saturated fats from butter and yoghurt aren’t harmful (if eaten in moderation). Yay! I can’t imagine I’m the only person who has been incredibly frustrated with the insistence that cholesterol and saturated fats are the source of all ill health. I’ve written a couple of posts on the subject of the health benefits of certain fats, as well as the generally controversial subject of cholesterol if you want a bit more info. I find it incredibly interesting, and the more people are informed, the better.
So, it seems that the general media are now getting their information from more up-to-date sources, which is really good news. We aren’t going to agree on everything, and one of the unhealthy healthy foods listed was smoothies, along with a word on the evils of juicing. If smoothies and juices are done properly, they can be a good way to pack in some veg, as well as nuts, seeds and various nutrient dense powders such as barley grass, maca root and lacuma powder. You can actually make some pretty decent savoury smoothies too – they sound gross, but really are pretty delicious! Have a look at these recipes and see for yourself. savoury-smoothies