A look at some food myths doing the rounds on the web and in our kitchens
If you have been avoiding eggs for fear of cholesterol or munching on suji gol gappas as a healthy snack, you've been fooled into believing these myths that are masquerading as health tips. Here are 8 such Indian food myths that have been passed down for generations:
1. Desi ghee is harmful for health
2. Eggs are high in cholesterol
Armed with 32% MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) and 65% saturated acids, desi ghee is in fact healthier than sunflower, safflower, corn and cottonseed oils. Unlike PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids), it does not lower the good cholesterol in our body. Moreover, research also reveals that cow ghee could protect us from cancer.
3. Suji (semolina) is a nutritious whole grain
Although one chicken egg contains nearly 215 mg of cholesterol (your daily intake should be no more than 300 mg), the effect of egg consumption on blood cholesterol is minimal. However, if you are diabetic, limit your cholesterol intake to 200 mg a day. In fact, if you want to avoid the cholesterol in eggs altogether, stick to the egg whites.
4. Extra-virgin olive oil should not be used for cooking
If you thought you were sticking to your diet by munching on suji snacks, you're wrong. Suji (semolina or rava) is the granular form of flour. Its nutritional content is the same as polished rice or refined wheat flour. Unlike whole grain, which is rich in fiber and nutrition, suji is the starch-rich component left behind once the grain is stripped off its nutrients.
5. Honey is better than sugar
Extra-virgin olive oil is actually more heat stable than regular olive oil. Hence, you can derive maximum benefits from it when heated to a minimum. It is also low in acid, resulting in a fruity flavor and aroma, so you can use it sparingly (for example, to garnish salads) and still enjoy the flavor.
6. Not eating sugar will save you from diabetes
Honey is no cheat guide to sweeten your life. On the contrary, one tablespoon of honey contains nearly 65 calories, as compared to only 46 calories provided by the same amount of table sugar. It is made up of 55 percent fructose resulting in a blood-sugar spike, weight gain and heart problems.
7. Microwaves can make food toxic
Staying away from refined sugar will definitely kill a few calories but not necessarily prevent diabetes. Diabetes is the inability of the body to effectively process carbohydrates. High-calorie diets of starch, fat or sugar, obesity and physical inactivity leads to insulin resistance, which sets the stage for diabetes.
8. Overdosing on nuts leads to cholesterol and obesity
Cooking vegetables in the microwave doesn't decrease their nutritional value whereas if you boil them, the nutrients are thrown away with the water. It's also a myth that microwaves expose you to radiation for long. The moment the microwave is switched off, no radiation leaks out even if the door is open.
Most people believe that consuming more than a handful of nuts increases cholesterol levels. But the truth is that nuts actually help lower cholesterol levels, reduce weight and protect your heart.
Suffice to say food myths are like UFOs: you hear about them but nobody really knows if they're true! To stay safe and healthy, it is best to consult your dietician or nutritionist and opt for a good health insurance policy for future benefits.