Confused on whether you should or shouldn’t be eating pasta or nuts to help you lose weight? And what about those vegan brownies? Are they healthy? Here we give you a break down on some popular food choices and have worked out which are healthy and others you should put back on the shelf.
1.) White Bread
White bread is made up of refined grains. This means that the bran and germ layers of the wheat have been removed. This results in the fibre, vitamins and minerals in the wholegrains being removed. Some of these are then added back into the bread to account for these losses. Choose wholegrain bread varieties over white bread as it contains all the wholegrain goodness, plus all the extra protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals from the grains remains in the bread.
2.) Gluten-free, Vegan and Paleo Baked Goods
Just because it is gluten-free, vegan or paleo doesn’t mean it’s healthy. These products can have more sugar, fat and calories than the regular version. In the end moderation is key so keep any baked goods varieties, like brownies and cakes for special occasions only.
3.) Frozen yoghurt
These come in quite large portion sizes and it is easy to get carried away if you can serve yourself. Avoid adding multiple topping varieties as this adds even more calories. Keep it as an occasional treat only.
4.) Pre-packaged muffins
Muffins can come in massive portion sizes and can pack up to 700 calories in a single muffin. If you want a muffin as a healthy treat make your own and control the portion size. That way you won’t over-do it on calories and you know exactly how much sugar and fat is in it.
6.) Processed meats
Processed meats like bacon, salami, chorizo, pepperoni and ham should only be consumed occasionally. Processed meats are cured with sodium, nitrates and/or smoking. They have been linked with an increased risk of some types of cancers and have high sodium levels. Excessive sodium in your diet may lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy ham on a sandwich every so often; just don’t make it a daily feature.
7.) Sports drinks
These contain unnecessary levels of sodium and sugar. You only need them if you are doing vigorous exercise for over 90 mins. So put it back on the shelf if you are going for a short run or a leisurely walk.
8.) Soft drink and fruit juice
These are a source of unnecessary excess calories and sugar. Cutting down on soft drink and fruit juice alone can lead to weight loss. Did you know that a 600mL bottle of Cola has 13 teaspoons of sugar!
People often avoid these because they are told they contain too much cholesterol. But there’s no need to skip the yolks, the National Heart Foundation recommends including up to 6 egg yolks a week. It is the saturated and trans fats in foods that is the main cause of poor heart health. But if you’re serving your eggs with a side of fat-laden bacon, it may be time to re-think it.
There are so many varieties of healthier alternatives to pasta available now. Many are now made of durum wheat, which lowers the GI and other varieties have added fibre. Just remember your portion control.
3.) Frozen vegetables
Some people steer clear of these thinking that fresh is best. But frozen vegies can actually pack more nutrition than the fresh variety. This is because they are picked and quickly frozen, locking in the nutrients. Some fresh vegies have had long transport times, even before sitting on the shop shelf, this length of time can decrease the nutrients in the vegies.
Technically a fruit, these pack a nutritional punch with more than 20 essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. Although they are delicious just be sure not to over-do it as they are very high in calories because of the high monounsaturated fat content.
Dairy can be the first thing people cut out when weight loss is their goal, but did you know that including dairy foods in your diet actually accelerates fat loss? It is suspected that the combination of calcium, protein and certain fatty acids leads to the benefits, not to mention the essential calcium it contains for strong bones and teeth. Dairy has also been shown to increase or maintain lean muscle mass.
Some people cut out nuts in an effort to lose weight, but studies show that people who eat nuts have a healthy weight and have higher quality diets than those who don’t eat nuts. Nuts contain plant sterols which help to lower cholesterol and are heart healthy because of all the unsaturated fats, just watch your portion size and stick to a portion size of 30g.
Potatoes have a bad rap for the way they can be prepared, such as potato chips with lots of oil. Potatoes contain resistant starches, which help keep you fuller for longer by helping to regulate blood sugar levels. There are many varieties available and Charisma potatoes are low GI.
Popcorn contains 100% whole grains and is a source of fibre, making it the perfect snack. Just make sure it’s the air-popped variety and not the version full of sugar and salt.