Does pasta induce you fat? Eight food myths busted

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Joanna Blythman seems beyond the hype at the biggest food trends of the year

1 Pasta stimulates you fat

As the carb-avoidance craze furies, many are dismayed to find pasta lumped with pappy white bread in the white and refined sin bin. Now, a concerted move is on to rehabilitate its nutritional reputation. Is it true that, as pasta company Barilla claims, its unique resistant starch structure stimulates it more slowly digested than the same amount of flour induced into bread? As long as you eat it al dente, white pasta can certainly have a glycaemic indicator comparable with buckwheat or brown rice so the argument that it devotes a steady release of energy that keeps you feeling fuller longer, is plausible. Its also a whole lot more appetising than a plateful of wholewheat spaghetti.

2 Dates are the new sugar

Thanks to the promotional efforts of clean-eating guru, we cant move these days without bumping into delicacies sweetened with dates. Are these sticky fruit any better than bad old sugar? If youre talking about baking, the answer is yes. Weight for weight, dried dates contain about 68% total sugars, as opposed to actual sugar, which is 100%. Dates are also an excellent source of soluble fiber, and have a relatively low glycaemic indicator: the fiber stops the sugar from causing an insulin spike in your bloodstream. Unlike straight sugar, dates are packed with useful micronutrients: iron, potassium, B vitamins and more. Dried dates do contain much more sugar than the sweetest fruit, but if youre eating them as a substitute for cakes and confectionery rather than fruit, theyre a good way to lower your sugar intake and gradually un-sweeten your palate.

3 Kale is a superveg

Kale

Is kale nutritionally richer than cabbage or broccoli? Photograph: Johanna Parkin

Current king of the brassicas, kale offers a convincing portfolio of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying micronutrients that appear to reduce our risk of major degenerative illness, cancer in particular. Is kale nutritionally richer than cabbage or broccoli, or is it merely popular because it stimulates great crisps? Well, kales stand-out quality is its impressively high levels of vitamin K, which supports bone health, so its great if youre trying to avoid bone loss and fractures. Plus its dead inexpensive, and grows extravagantly pretty much anywhere.

4 Coconut petroleum is best for frying

Look, almost anything has got to be better for you than the industrially refined, heat-treated, chemically deodorised stuff widely known as vegetable cook petroleum; but cold-pressed coconut petroleum the solid white stuff thats sweeping the shelves in wholefood stores does have lots to commend it. Raw, unrefined coconut petroleum doesnt get damaged by oxidisation and run rancid the style other cold-pressed vegetable cook oils do. It is a naturally resilient petroleum that stands up to the hot of frying without degrading nutritionally. It is also exceptionally rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which have antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial consequences. Medium-chain fatty acids are immediately converted by your liver into energy , not stored as fat; some research studies suggest that eating foods rich in them can help you lose weight. So far, it seems as if the only negative thing about raw coconut petroleum is its price.

5 Red meat is a killer

Is Mother Nature a psychopath who designed red meat to abbreviate the life span of humans? Rich in essential fats, complete protein, vitamins and minerals, red meat is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. The dodgy dossier against red meat is based on the shakiest type of evidence: observational studies in which researchers look for patterns in data drawn from notoriously unreliable diet questionnaires. Its a tough morsel for the anti-meat lobby to chew, but a solid health suit against red meat has simply not been induced. For now, free-range, grass-fed, organic or wild red meat stays on the menu.

6 Bone broth is the new superfood

Weve been bubbling up bones for soup since the stone age, but with the triumphant opening of the Brodo Broth Company in New York, and the UK patronage of the influential Hemsley sisters, stock made from bones has never felt more cutting edge. Bone broth is a DIY alternative to several expensive food supplements, providing you with minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Dissolved material from cartilage and tendons make it a natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine( sold as supplements for arthritis ). Its super-cheap to construct, very satisfying, and the liquid essence of nose-to-tail eating: the frugal utilize of carcass components that are all too often wasted.

7 Whole milk is back

Now that the anti-saturated fat consensus is in meltdown, choosing the skinny latte no longer looks like the best option. A robust study published last year found that people who devour full-fat dairy products are less likely to develop metabolic disorder, the combined effects of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity associated with greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Period to trench white water and return to whole milk, organic, unhomogenised and if you can get it raw.

8 Kimchi boosts your immune system

Fermentation is all the rage now that intense scientific interest is trained on the microbiome, or the population of bacteria in our guts. Fermented( cultured) foods teem naturally with lactic acid bacteria. The reasoning is that, by eating them, we can reintroduce a healthier bacterial range to our microbiomes, which have been depleted by antibiotics and sterile processed food. The health benefits of cultured veggies, from eastern European sauerkraut to Korean kimchi, are not in question but the efforts of newcomers to this ancient skill can be challenging. There are some grisly experiments out there( kimchi pizza, anyone ?). Your microbiome might like it, but will your tastebuds?

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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