There are so many foods out there that are deemed “unhealthy” when in reality they are actually not as horrible as our society has made them come out to be. Why are these foods getting such bad rap in the first place?
People are just unsure when it comes to eating healthy on a diet, and the media is no help. Many people hear the latest health food fad or simply lack the understanding of healthy foods. So hopefully this will set the record straight on a few healthy foods that have been deemed unhealthy:
Because pork comes from a pig, many associate it with fat, which is not the case. Depending on the cut of the meat, it can have vastly different nutritional values. Pork tenderloin for example is an extra-lean cut with only 122 calories per 3 oz serving. It is also loaded with protein (22g per 3 oz serving). That is 22g of protein for 122 calories, and only 3g of total fat. The key is to make sure you are roasting or grilling and seasoning with herbs, not frying or breading the pork.
Frozen and Canned Produce
Many have the misconception that fresh is the only way to go when it comes to produce, but that may not be the case. According to WebMD, “if you can’t grow your own produce and eat it within hours of harvesting, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables can be every bit as good for you as fresh ones, and in some cases even better.” So yes, if you are able to eat fresh produce within days of picking, it will hold on to the most nutrients. Yet this is rarely the case as many of us buy our produce at grocery stores, and we know that is not freshly picked right when we walk in. So in many cases, even though some vitamins may have been lost in the process, most nutrients are still there. Just make sure to choose low-sodium and low-sugar varieties. “You can also rinse your canned vegetables off, and choose fruits packed in their own juice” for the most nutrients and lower calories/sodium.
Oh the long-lived egg debate. Many link eggs with high cholesterol, though there has been numerous research done to disprove this. While eggs contain a fair amount of cholesterol, it is not enough to cause heart problems. They are also a very “high-quality” protein source. The cholesterol mostly resides in the yolk, so it is suggested to only have one yolk a day and mix that in with egg white. You are still getting ample amount of protein. According to LiveStrong; “an egg contains about 6.3g of protein…the white contains 3.6g.”
Many associate potatoes with high carbohydrates, but the thing many forget is that we need carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates which potatoes are. Sweet potatoes possess a high nutritional value; they are loaded in Vitamin A, B6, and D. One medium sweet potato supplies 24g of carbohydrates which is only 8% of the recommended value, yet gives you 15% of your recommended daily fiber intake. This complex carb loaded with fiber is going to keep you full for hours, which is what you would want from any diet!
You see the high calorie count in nuts and get scared away. Yes nuts are high in calories, but they are high in so many other healthy vitamins and minerals as well. They are also a great source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, while reducing LDL (the bad) cholesterol. You can get all these added benefits in peanut butter as well, check the ingredients to make sure there are no added unnecessary ingredients, just peanuts should do the trick. Also make sure you are not over doing it when it comes to nuts and nut butters, check the serving sizes and stick to it.
We all fear the pasta when on a diet, but why? Many again fear the carbohydrate factor when it comes to pastas, but again it is something we need for the brain and body to stay energized and functioning at its best. While yes white pasta and the creamy sauces (such as alfredo) are going to increase the calories, stick to whole wheat pasta and light sauces for the complex carbohydrate and lower calorie options. Pasta also makes for great dishes to mix in loads of veggies and proteins.
Cheese has always been deemed full of calories fat, which it is, but why are we fearing this?! Full-fat cheese has been proven to contain cancer-fighting properties. It is also high in calcium which we all know strengthens bones, but it also helps regulate circulation. Cheese is also high in protein, and the full fat flavor keeps you satisfied for hours. Just make sure to stick to only 1 or 1.5 ounces a day!
How many of these foods have you been avoiding while on your diet? Well now may be the time to stop! Taking many of these foods out of your diet leads to boring eating habits. Incorporate these foods back into your diet and reclaim your taste buds. However, make sure you are always checking portion sizes and sticking to it, as failing to control portion size is the number one diet killer.