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Debunking food myths: The facts on supposed healthy foods

by Archives March 3, 2009

HAMILTON (CUP) – No one denies that there are tricks to losing weight. You have to really know what you’re putting into your body, what it consists of, and how your body metabolizes it in order to be able to properly plan your diet.
On top of these already hard-to-handle problems, there are also tricks that the food industry uses in order to pass off their products as health foods.
Why would the health food industry deceive you? Because they’re in it to make money.
I know, it’s the same old story, but think about it. Fat just tastes better in food. That’s why movie theatres douse your popcorn with butter and why potatoes are deep fried to make fries. If the health food industry can peddle fatty foods as health foods, not only will they make oodles of money, they’ll also leave you satisfied.
If your diet goes belly-up and you realize you’re gaining weight instead of losing it, your whole-bran muffin will probably be the last food you suspect.
In the book, Eat This, Not That!, co-authors David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding reveal 14 unwholesome foods that are camouflaged as health foods. The top seven are true surprises.
The number one is actually that bran muffin. The authors point out that a bran muffin can have up to 400 calories, 20 grams of fat, and white flour and sugar – things you just don’t need in the morning.
They say to opt for a ham and egg sandwich on an English muffin instead, which has fewer calories and less fat (300 calories and 12 grams, respectively). It will give you that added bit of protein.
Chicken Caesar wraps are number two on the list. You may think that being stuffed with lettuce and lean chicken makes them a great diet food, but the reality is that the croutons, Parmesan, and the salad dressing add lots of un-needed calories and fat bringing the total count to 900 calories and 50 grams.
Instead, switch the Chicken Caesar wrap for a grilled chicken sandwich or even a roast beef or ham sandwich. You’ll be cutting out the accessory foods and getting the best part of the meal without sacrificing any flavour.
This brings us to number three: wraps in general. It really doesn’t matter what you shove into a wrap, as long as the giant, modified starch tortilla shell is surrounding your favourite food, you could be taking in up to an extra 400 calories.
This is a huge surprise when you consider that a pasta salad has about 100 fewer calories and about the same amount of fat. Anytime you switch a wrap for a sandwich, you’ll be saving your body tons of these negative additives.
Yogurt fruit cups are another health food in disguise. The problem with these is that on top of containing (barely any) yogurt and fruit, they also have lots and lots of corn syrup as an added sweetener.
This can double the amount of fat and sugar than if you were to make a yogurt-fruit cup yourself. Buy low fat, plain yogurt and mix in whatever fruit you choose. Pour it in a container and have it as a snack whenever you want.
Granola bars are number five. Ever wonder what keeps those healthy nuts, oats and fruits together? It’s glue made of corn syrup. If oats are what you want as a snack, pour granola into low fat yogurt.
If, instead, you want nuts and fruits, then just have the nuts and fruits. Nuts contain lots of protein, which is very important in the morning to give your metabolism a kick-start.
This is probably the only time that I’ll be telling you to eat pizza, so listen carefully. Where pasta is concerned, choose pizza instead. But wait, there’s more. You can choose any type of pizza over any type of pasta. While there are bad things that come in both dishes, there are a few unorthodox assets that make pizzas a better choice.
First of all, pizza can come in smaller, more controlled portions. Pasta only comes in one size.
Pizza has tomato sauce, a healthier choice to creamy, buttery pasta sauces and Parmesan cheese.
Pasta is also easier for your body to digest, especially when it’s well cooked, which makes it a poor choice for a meal because you get hungry again shortly afterwards.
Pizza crust, especially if it’s whole wheat, has more complex carbohydrates that make it harder to digest, so you stay fuller longer and therefore eat less during the day.
And lastly, bagels with cream cheese – probably the most surprising contender on our list. This is not because of the cheese that contains protein, but because of the bagel itself. In fact, a bagel with cream cheese can be worst for you than a Big Mac.
You should try to avoid any kind of bread that’s modified and white. If you’re hungry for breakfast, eat something with eggs and vegetables instead. Choose an omelette or just scrambled eggs and ham on brown toast. For lunch or dinner, order a grilled chicken sandwich and eat it open-faced instead.

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