5 so called healthy foods that aren't exactly healthy

  • Dhruv Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 05, 2014 15:50 IST

Next time you walk into a grocery store, do a small experiment. Pick 10 foods and look at their packaging. Most of those packages will probably have a 'health benefit' listed on them. But how much of it is true?

Here's a list of seven 'myths' that we come across regularly:

Diet Namkeen: You must know that 'namkeen' isn't exactly healthy. It's fried and has sugar and a lot of them are made from highly processed rice base or maida (processed flour). Not exactly what you would call healthy. That's an accepted fact.

Also read:Fad or fact: Busting myths behind food

Now, if we reduce some of the fat and add some carbohydrates, and label it 'diet namkeen', it doesn't become healthy! It's still namkeen. It's still got plenty of sodium, plenty of simple carbohydrates and fat. So, don't trick yourself into believing that you will be healthier by eating diet namkeen.



This one is an old classic. Margarine was made popular in the 80's, where the common belief was that margarine is a healthy replacement for butter. But plenty of research has shown that it's not.

Margarine is typically produced by a method called hydrogenation that is known to create trans-fats, the worst kind of fat. Its consumption has a direct correlation with an increase in LDL cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol)

So, if you want something buttery, just have butter!

Sports Drinks:


The name, 'sports drinks' says it all. Sports drinks were developed for sportspersons. Athletes and sports people play for hours and as a result, the 'energy' stored in their body as glycogen gets depleted. Their goal is to keep up their performance. And sports drinks contain fast dissolving carbohydrates, quickly help replenish their depleting glycogen stores.

Also read:Mythbusters: 4 common health realted myths debunked

So, if you're not exercising for hours and if you're focussed on your using your exercise time to lose weight or to burn fat, then your sports drinks aren't going to help. Worse, if you're not exercising, and having sports drinks, then those fast dissolving carbohydrates aren't going to get burnt and will be stored in your body as fat!

Brown Bread:


No, we're not going to bash bread as the reason you're not losing weight, because it's not. But we're going clarify the thinking on brown bread.

The moment you think of brown bread, the most natural thought is that it is the quintessential healthy version of white bread. What if we told you it's not always the case!

Brown bread often contains more whole wheat than white bread, but most brown bread still contain processed flour (maida).

So it is only marginally healthier than white bread. Just to give you a broad scale. The glycemic index of sugar is 74, white bread is 71 and brown bread is 69!

Better than brown bread is multigrain bread. Always check the fibre content of the bread. The higher, the better.

As a recommendation, if you're diabetic or pre-diabetes, it's best if you avoid bread.

Egg Whites Only:


There's been a lot of contradictory research on the cholesterol contained in egg yolks and their effects on our cholesterol levels. Broadly a lot of the new research is showing that a controlled consumption of egg yolks does not negatively affect your cholesterol.

And for a moment, let's look beyond the cholesterol. Egg whites essentially contain protein. The egg yolk contains almost as much protein as the white, plus a cocktail of B vitamins, iron, iodine, choline and other micro-nutrients. All of these have strong nutritional benefits. Also note that the fat contained in food helps in absorption of nutrients in your intestine. So, you don't need to shun the egg yolks. Enjoy the whole egg. Beyond the nutritional benefits, your omelette tastes far better with the egg yolk!

We could just go on about these foods, but this is a good start. Eat less namkeen, skip the margarine completely, control your brown bread, and enjoy the egg yolk!

(Dhruv Gupta is the founder of the Fitho (an online weight loss diet programme, www.fitho.in) and the author of a book on healthy living, Losing It- Making Weight Loss Simple.)

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