September 8, 2016
Nutrition myths: Which foods should you avoid?
There are always numerous foods that we are being told we should eat in order to be our healthiest selves. However, very few of them come with scientific backing, meaning that the money you’ve just shelled out for the latest must-eat superfood could be wasted.
It also means that you could be putting yourself at risk, as you’re expecting to get goodness from a certain source that in reality isn’t delivering.
So exactly what should you be avoiding when it comes to these foods? Here are some of the trendy superfoods that actually aren’t all people say they are:
Dairy alternative milks have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years, with even big chains opting to add them to the menu. One type of milk that more and more people are reaching for in a bid to be healthier is rice milk, but it isn’t all people seem to think it is.
A single cup of rice milk has around 33g of carbohydrates, with is treble the amount that you get from a cup of cow’s milk. This means there’s a lot of sugar in it, which isn’t great if you’re trying to be healthy or if you’re diabetic.
On top of this, it hardly has any calcium in, which can affect your bones and other aspects of your wellbeing. You’re much better off swapping your rice milk for standard skimmed milk.
There are all sorts of claims flying around about wheatgrass, including that it helps to reduce inflammation or means your body starts producing more red blood cells. However, these claims have been debunked by the British Dietetic Association (BDA), which has said that it is basically just like any other fruit juice.
In fact, you’d be better off eating more spinach or broccoli, as wheatgrass contains no more nutrients than these veggies, which are also a fair bit cheaper.
Another food that has had claims about it undermined by the BDA is goji berries, which people claim help to boost your immune system and do things like protect against heart disease.
The BDA has failed to find anything about goji berries that actually cause these results, so it’s probably best if you just eat healthily and stick to tried and tested fruit and vegetables.
Coconut oil seems to get used for so much nowadays. It’s been hailed as a hair and beauty miracle cure but is also appearing in more and more recipes. While coconut oil is tasty – adding a slightly nutty flavour to food – and can be eaten raw, it is fairly high in calories.
To keep your calorie intake down, you’re much better off opting for extra virgin olive oil, which contains higher amounts of good fats, as well as polyphenols, which boost your immune system.
You may be thinking ‘what about all the good things that coconut oil provides?’ In actual fact, there’s not really much research that proves beyond a doubt that coconut oil has benefits beyond the taste.
Dried fruit is full of a lot more sugar than you might think, which is why dates are anything but the ideal healthy treat. Even just a couple of dates can drastically increase your daily sugar intake.
The amount of fibre you get from dates is nothing compared to how much sugar they contain, so you’re best off looking for a low-sugar fibre source instead.