Choose the right food

An increasing number of varieties of food items in the market make your buying choices highly confusing. We clear a few misconceptions to ensure that you consume the right food and eat healthy.

Skimmed milk:The low fat content in skimmed milk makes it a popular choice today. However, fat content is not the only measure to evaluate how healthy milk is. Skimmed milk contains less than 0.5% fat, while whole milk contains around 4.5% of fat. Only foods containing more than 20% of fat are considered high-fat foods.

The fat in whole milk contains vitamins A, D, E and K, which help in strengthening immunity, neutralising effects of damaging free radicals and keeping bones healthy. Skimmed milk available in Indian markets contains only vitamins A and D as additives. Besides, it does not contain forms of vitamin B, like niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and folic acid.

Artificial sweeteners: The next time you see a beautiful model revealing her fitness secret to be an artificial sweetener, think twice! Choosing a diet soft drink over a regular one or adding sugar substitutes instead of sugar in your regular food doesn’t really help in losing weight and keeping fit and healthy.

A study by two professors at Purdue University, USA, found that artificial sweeteners impair the body’s natural ability to count calories leading to increased food intake and weight gain.

Eggs: It is believed that eggs are nutritious and daily consumption is good for health. But, there is also a theory that they are high in cholesterol. The truth is the cholesterol in eggs does not contribute greatly to your blood cholesterol levels. Besides, eggs also increase the good cholesterol in the body.

According to a study by researchers at University of Surrey, UK, eggs are claimed to be nutrient-dense foods with a valuable source of high density protein and quality micronutrients.

Sunflower oil: Sunflower oil is widely used in Indian households for daily cooking. However, apart from being a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids (the essential fatty acids that are vital for normal metabolism), it is also high in Omega-6 fatty acids content.

The balance of Omega-3 fatty acids to that of Omega-6 fatty acids is crucial in decreasing the risk of coronary heart diseases. If the proportion of Omega-6 fatty acids is higher, it is likely to cause breast cancer in postmenopausal women and may cause prostate cancer as well.

Whole wheat bread: Be it any kind of bread – white bread or whole wheat bread or multi-grain bread – it is carbohydrate rich. There is hardly any difference in the glycemic index (GI) of whole wheat bread (69) and white bread (70). Consuming foods with low GI help control blood sugar levels, cholesterol, appetite and also lower the risk of getting heart disease.

Soy: Lately, soy has been heavily promoted as a health food. Apart from being rich in proteins and other compounds that help fight diseases, soy contains isoflavones (phytates) – the phytochemical compounds, which help in cutting down cholesterol, preventing cancer and reversing osteoporosis.

However, soy has a dark side too. According to a study by the British Dietetic Association, the high content of oxalates and phytates in soy curbs the absorption of essential minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium and copper in the body.

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