THE GREAT PRE­TENDERS

IT’S TIME FOR THESE SAINTLY FOODS TO LOSE THEIR HEALTH HALO. BE SAVVY AND DROP THEM FROM YOUR DIET.

Shape (Singapore) - - Eat Right News -

● DRIED FRUIT Af­ter a bowl full of these tough bits, you’re nowhere near sat­is­fied, but you would have had more sugar and calo­ries than if you ate the fresh fruit. Com­pare this: 100g of dried ap­ple rings has about 250 calo­ries and 53g of sugar, while 100g of fresh ap­ple has about 85 calo­ries and 10g of sugar.

Also, some of the fruit’s nu­tri­ents are lost in the de­hy­dra­tion process. While hav­ing some fruit is bet­ter than none, you can’t beat the ben­e­fits of fresh pro­duce in this case. ● CO­CONUT Mar­keted as a health food with an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties, the co­conut’s pro­po­nents have been hap­pily us­ing it as cook­ing oil, adding it to ve­gan cheese­cakes, pour­ing heap­ing spoon­fuls into oat­meal, and us­ing the cream in cof­fee.

How­ever, with stud­ies not­ing that co­conut in­creases bad choles­terol and triglyc­eride (fat) lev­els, it isn’t a sur­prise that ex­perts have re­frained from en­dors­ing the in­gre­di­ent. Be­sides, if you’re care­ful about avoid­ing but­ter, lard, and palm oil, can you re­ally trust an­other fat that’s solid at room tem­per­a­ture? ● VE­GAN CHEESE­CAKE If you’ve ever tucked into one of these creamy slices and won­dered how they could be so de­li­cious and healthy, they’re not! Though you’d be hard­pressed to find a health-food blog that doesn’t fea­ture a recipe for it or sing its praises, these “raw power bars” are re­ally calo­rie and fat bombs that should be re­served for treats.

Of­ten made with nuts, sta­bilised with co­conut oil, and sweet­ened with sug­ary dates or co­pi­ous amounts of maple syrup (or honey if not ve­gan), each help­ing may be less pro­cessed than reg­u­lar treats, but usu­ally con­tains more than the rec­om­mended serv­ing of nuts (about a palm­ful), and de­liv­ers un­nec­es­sary sugar that you’re go­ing to have to burn off. ● EN­ERGY BALLS You knew we’d come af­ter these, too, didn’t you? Shar­ing sim­i­lar in­gre­di­ents to ve­gan cheese­cakes, these truf­fle­sized balls tend to also con­tain chopped pieces of dried fruit, seeds, and even cho­co­late chips.

Small though they may be, each piece has about 100 calo­ries (and that’s be­ing con­ser­va­tive), and while they may have more nu­tri­ents and fi­bre than a candy bar, calo­riewise, you’re not get­ting away with any­thing. ● GLUTEN-FREE PROD­UCTS Ac­cord­ing to the Celiac Dis­ease Foun­da­tion in the US, only an es­ti­mated one per cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion has coeliac dis­ease, which causes gluten hy­per­sen­si­tiv­ity in the small in­tes­tine, and leads to dif­fi­culty in di­gest­ing food. Yet peo­ple have some­how got­ten the idea that gluten is bad.

Gluten-free prod­ucts are nei­ther any health­ier nor lower in fat, calo­ries or carbs than reg­u­lar foods. Plus, it’s a real drag to avoid its sources, which in­clude grains like wheat, bar­ley, rye, spelt, farro, and oats. This means you’d have to watch for pas­tas, baked goods, gravies, soups, salad dress­ings, and even soya sauce!

Ex­perts are warn­ing against hop­ping on the gluten-free band­wagon as it could mean miss­ing out on valu­able es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents and fi­bre due to a lim­ited diet.

A re­port in Epi­demi­ol­ogy also shared that you could be ex­pos­ing your­self to more mer­cury and ar­senic, com­monly found in farming chem­i­cals used to grow rice, a pop­u­lar in­gre­di­ent in gluten-free prod­ucts. Con­sider this be­fore chew­ing on an­other bland, air­popped rice snack.

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