12 Healthy Food Myths Busted

Before you make the switch to diet snacks, read between the labels

Dr Anjali Hooda Sangwan Updated: Oct 16, 2019 15:15:02 IST
12 Healthy Food Myths Busted

Most of us will fall for phrases such as ‘diet food’ or ‘fat-free food’. What does it mean to have these foods? What should be the quantity and portion sizes? Why do they matter? What’s the logic behind them? Here is a breakdown of some diet or fat-free foods and why you should consume or avoid them.

1. Grains and biscuits: Oats biscuits are laden with sugar and have refined flour too. Therefore, you must read the labels before buying them. The amount of carbohydrate decreases when the fibre content goes up. Brown breads are not always made of whole grains and are often mixed with sugar and refined flour. Sometimes, even colour is added to it to make it brown. Multigrain biscuits (cookies) are the same as oats cookies, laden with sugar and bleached flour. Sometimes, they even have remnants of grain from the mill, which are of extremely bad quality. Brown rice has a lower glycemic index, and if you consider eating it in large quantities believing it to be healthy, you should know that it has as many calories as white rice. The only difference is the slightly higher fibre content.

2. Diet snacks: Diet snacks are packed with sugar or bad fats/oil. They might be roasted, but do not buy them if they are improperly labelled. Most people eat diet snacks in large quantities thinking them to be healthy, but they’re not. The rule is to have snacks in small quantities, even if it seems low in calories.

3. Fat-free or skimmed foods: These foods are labelled as ‘skimmed’ or ‘fat-free’, but did you know that the moment we remove fat from milk, the sugar content goes up? In a lot of fat-free products, you will find the sugar content is high as they have to flavour them. Take bottled salad dressings, for instance. They are labelled fat-free and have loads of sugar, and we feel that we are having a salad and still piling pounds, as the sugar will not let us lose weight.

4. Flavoured Greek yoghurt: This kind of yoghurt is enriched with sugar. Therefore, it is best to avoid it. Buy a plain one instead and add fruits to make it tastier.

5. Bhelpuri: A lot of people think that bhelpuri is a healthy snack, but it has a lot of sugar due to the sauces used. The ingredients are fried, causing inflammation, which might lead to weight gain.

6. Momos (dim sums): Steamed dim sums are better than the fried ones, yes. However, the problem is that the maida coating on the dim sum has a high glycemic index. It is a refined flour and consuming it will raise your insulin level.

7. Too many fruits: Fruits are healthy for the body but consuming too many is again a problem. Fruits also contain sugar. It may be natural, but sugar is sugar. Having fruits in the evening will make them ferment in the belly, causing bloating and uneasiness. Therefore, I recommend not having too many fruits and keeping it balanced in your diet.

8. Milk: Milk is for children, but so much of it is also consumed by adults. The process of milk extraction is not a pleasant one, as you might know if you have seen professional milk extraction machines. It is painful to see how cows have their udders pinned to a machine. I discourage the consumption of milk–it is not the only source of protein for vegetarians. Give up milk completely if possible.


9. White butter or ghee or coconut oil: They are better fats, but taken in large quantities, they too will help you pick up pounds. Fat is a dense calorie, so unless you are advised by your physician to eat a lot of it, be careful about how much you consume.

10. Murmure (rice flakes): They may seem light—that’s why lots of people eat them. They forget that murmure consist of white rice, which causes insulin levels to increase and store the fat.

11. Frying in olive oil: Frying oxidizes fat, and if you repeatedly use the same oil or ghee for frying, you have oxidized the fat so much that when you consume the food, you will only be eating toxins. It causes inflammation in the body, leading to obesity and numerous other issues.

12. Dips and crackers combo: A lot of people love chips with dips. If you think this is one of the healthiest things to eat, you are mistaken. The dip may already be heavy in fat, but as soon as you combine it with a carbohydrate (contained in the crackers), then you are in for some serious weight gain. Try to have dips with fruits or vegetables like cucumbers, peppers, celery, apple slices, carrots, etc.


Excerpted with permission from Think, Eat, Live, Smart: Secrets to Supercharge Your Health by Dr Anjali Hooda Sangwan, published by Rupa Publications India
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