Five Foods That Used to Be Bad for You - but Now Aren't; SCOTT HARDING on Changing Tastes and Changing Rules

The Journal (Newcastle, England), April 2, 2016 | Go to article overview

Five Foods That Used to Be Bad for You - but Now Aren't; SCOTT HARDING on Changing Tastes and Changing Rules


NUTRITIONAL guidelines and recommendations are constantly changing in the light of new research.

Here we look at five foods that have gone through the cycle of being the villains of nutritional science but are now, based on some old and some new science, apparently OK to eat again.

Eggs FOR a long time, eggs were thought to be bad for your heart.

A large egg contains a hefty 185mg of cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol was believed to contribute to high blood cholesterol levels. But for the last 20 years, nutrition and medical research has shown repeatedly that at normal intakes dietary cholesterol has very little influence on a person's blood cholesterol levels. Although it's taken a while, nutrition experts are now correcting the record for eggs and other foods that contain cholesterol (such as chicken liver and shell-fish) by removing it as a nutrient of concern from dietary guidelines. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and several vitamins and minerals.

FAT SPREADS THE story of fat spreads, such as margarine and butter, is probably one of the most confusing stories in nutrition.

The origin of margarine, which is made from vegetable fat, dates back to the mid-1800s. Since that time, margarine has replaced butter as the fat spread of choice in most developed countries. This switch was driven by the lower price of margarine compared with butter as well as recommendations from health professionals to eat less saturated fat to prevent coronary heart disease (CHD).

While this switch away from saturated fats began to show reduced CHD incidence in the population, researchers also identified an independent link between trans fat (a fat produced when partially hydrogenating vegetable fats to make margarines) intake and CHD.

Since this link was confirmed regulatory agencies around the world have sought to eliminate trans fats from the diet.

The food industry was quick to respond and has been producing trans fat-free margarine for years now. However, there is still confusion among consumers as to whether vegetable, fat-based spreads are safe to eat. The short answer is yes, as long as the food label doesn't list "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" as an ingredient.

POTATOES are one of the few vegetables considered to be unhealthy.

Because they're a high glycaemic index food they tend to get lumped in with foods made from refined carbohydrates as foods to avoid. …

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