There are many diets and fads that are simply assumed to be nutritious because they are in the media and / or you know people swearing by them. The truth could be very different and it’s important to understand what they offer, if at all.
‘Enriched’ white bread
It's important to realize that when bread or food in general is enriched or refined, vital nutrients are destroyed. So much so that it is even questionable whether what remains is even fit to be considered food if ‘food’ is taken as something of nutritional value. When it comes to bread, once you remove the most nutritious part of the grain, it is reduced to a form of sugar.
Not surprisingly, excessive consumption of white bread can be seen in the form of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
‘High Protein’ instant noodles
Instant noodles, high protein or otherwise, are harmful for health. Since instant noodles are designed specifically for longer shelf life, they undergo deeper processing. Typically, instant noodles are low on nutritive content, high on fat, calories and sodium. Add to this other harmful ingredients like artificial colours, additives, preservatives and flavourings.
Often instant noodles contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) as also tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ) - a chemical preservative derived from the petroleum industry for their taste enhancing and preserving properties. Although, intake of these ingredients is allowed upto a limit, regular intake can lead to health problems.
Fruit juice with ‘No Added Sugar’
Consumers often get taken in with fruit juices that carry the ‘no added sugar’ tag and automatically assume it must be healthy. The truth is quite the opposite.
Fruit juices are an alternative to whole fruit. So rather than consume the drink, when we eat whole fruit there are some exceptional benefits to the body’s digestive system. The process of chewing and swallowing along with the fibre in the whole fruit is useful and even necessary for the body’s health. This benefit is deprived to the body by the fruit juice.
A typical glass of fruit juice contains a large amount of natural sugar from the fruit. This makes them very sugary by nature and they don’t need any added sugars in the first place. So ‘no added sugar’ is hardly any comfort given their already sweet nature.
The large amount of sugar in the fruit juice gets absorbed and sent to the liver very quickly. When the liver gets all that sugar or fructose (which is derived from the sugar), it can cause trouble. The liver can only process so much fructose; when it takes in more than it can handle it leads to fat build up and insulin resistance.
Diet or lite sodas are carbonated beverages. The ‘diet’ part is explained by the fact that they do not contain sugar. Instead they are sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, cyclamate, acesulfame-k or sucralose. They are calorie free. Technically speaking, this should promote weight loss and prevent sugar-related diseases like diabetes and metabolic syndrome. However, there is no evidence that these beverages serve any benefit health-wise.
Studies have shown that diet soda despite the zero calorie nature of the beverage has an adverse impact on the body’s metabolism the can lead to diabetes, stroke and heart disease over the long-term.
Gluten - free cookies
Gluten-free foods like cookies are all the rage for some time now. Marketed as healthy eating, it has spawned an industry where consumers line up for gluten-free foods without understanding the need for it.
Gluten-free diet offers no specific health benefits. In fact, many gluten-free foods are less nutritious, tend to be higher in carbohydrates and fat and lower in protein, and lower in fiber than their gluten-containing counterparts.
For a large majority of the population, gluten is not harmful. This group can consume gluten containing foods without problem. If individuals have gluten sensitivity, they should consult a dietician and opt for foods best suited to their condition.