Don’t fuss over fads. Eating well shouldn’t mean you can’t indulge and reap rewards at the same time. These simple food-shop swaps provide maximum benefits with minimum dietary adjustment.
“It might just be sugar,” notes nutritionist Laura Thomas, “but raw, unrefined honey taken straight from hives is one of the better sources of sweetness. It contains antioxidants absent in commercially manufactured honey, as well as refined and processed sugars.”
Recent Scandinavian studies have debunked years of bad press relating to saturated fat, concluding high-fat dairy products are actually inversely related to obesity. So swap your skimmed milk for full-cream.
Studies released over the last 10 years have dispelled rumours that eggs contribute to heart disease. In fact, we now know their stomach-filling protein assists weight control. Plus, high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin support eye health.
Studies show the glucose and insulin response to sourdough is significantly lower than with normal bread which makes this ideal as part of a reduced-carb diet. Slow fermentation (and a chewier crust) also means it’s easier to process gluten from sourdough.
The odd dram of quality, matured whisky has multiple health benefits, according to merry Japanese scientists. Natural phenolic com- pounds absorbed from oak ageing barrels include ellagic acid, which improves gut health and may even reduce your cancer risk. Scottish single malts have particularly high levels.
A no-brainer when it comes to snacks – this offers plenty of protein and healthy fat. The best option: any kind of venison, and make sure you don’t have huge portions.
They’re bursting with beta-carotene and lycopene – both key for eyesight. They have a high water content, too, so eating masses doesn’t equal masses of kilojoules.
From the latest immunity-boosting liquefied plant shot to your mid-afternoon energy bar, we pick apart nutrition myths and fads falling out of favour. Whether overrated, outdated or plain harmful, your body deserves better.
“If you make these yourself and limit the sugar, they can be a balanced energy snack pre- or post-workout,” Lambert says. “However, many of the ready- made versions are rolling in syrup and not a lot of actual protein. Aim for less than 5g sugar per 100g or eat a meal.”
“Processed gluten- free foods won’t do your blood sugar lev- els any favours,” warns Thomas. “Few contain as much fibre, folic acid and B vitamins as their unrefined equivalents. If you do have coeliac disease, look to natural ingredients that have always been gluten-free.”
Sales of bagged popcorn have more than doubled in the last five years, but it’s far from a nutritious snack. A problem, Lambert says, is that “sweetened versions, loaded with sugar and salt – and sometimes as calorific as fizzy drinks – are being marketed as healthy.”
Dr Robert Lustig’s Fat Chance, as well as studies published in 2013, underline that masses of sugar and a lack of fibre mean orange juice is not as whole- some as once assumed. In fact, it has more kilojoules than beer. Rather eat a whole orange.
“Most dried fruits also contain up to three times as much sugar as their fresh counterparts,” Lambert says. “And because they’re smaller, you’ll eat five instead of one, over- loading on fructose. Finally, their orange colour is the result of added sulphur dioxide, which can lead to acute reactions in those who suffer from asthma.” Another rea- son to buy organic.
“The traditional position that omega-3 in supplements and oily fish can protect against heart disease is based only on a hypothesis, not scientific literature,” says Thomas. “That said, vitamin D- and calcium-rich fish is great for bone strength and highly nutritious.”
“It’s hard to find a shop-bought bag of granola that’s not laden with sugar in the form of a glaze and added fruits,” warns Lambert. “Excess fructose is converted to VLDL in the body, a cholesterol that’s high in triglycerides, lead- ing to fat storage.” Buy fruit-free and add a sliced banana.