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Busting the nutrition myths

Thought that halwa made with artificial sweetener is a great idea? And you’re doing a favour to your waistline by switching over to low fat salad dressing? Blame it on misleading ads or popular beliefs circulated over the years, each of us have fallen prey to heath and nutrition myths like these.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 14, 2011 13:18 IST
Shara Ashraf
Shara Ashraf
Hindustan Times
HINDUSTAN TIMES

Thought that halwa made with artificial sweetener is a great idea? And you’re doing a favour to your waistline by switching over to low fat salad dressing? Blame it on misleading ads or popular beliefs circulated over the years, each of us have fallen prey to heath and nutrition myths like these. Read on to find out how that energy drink you gulp down every time you’re thirsty, may not be doing any good to you.



1

You can munch diet snacks sans any guilt:

The so-called ‘diet

namkeen

s’ that are baked or roasted and not fried are not really healthy. “The ingredients used to make these snacks are no different from ordinary snacks. They are high in sodium, sugar, and unhealthy flour,” says health expert Prachi Agarwal.



2

Artificial sweeteners are completely safe:

Halwa

made with artificial sweetener isn’t a good idea. In fact, excess use of sweeteners can lead to bladder cancer. “They can also trigger allergic reactions among those who cannot tolerate sulfa drugs. Reactions include breathing difficulties, skin eruptions, and diarrhoea,” says dietician Dr Simran Saini.



3

Granola bar is great for dieters:

Do you grab a granola bar every time you feel like having a quick snack and think you’re doing good to your waist? Well, you are digging into something loaded with sugar, corn syrup, and saturated fat. “It’s as good as having any other cookie and should not feature on a dieter’s list,” says Agarwal.



4

Energy drinks are good for every one:

That energy drink you see your celebrity athletes gulping down, may serve as an instant energy source for them. But they don’t do much for someone who lives a sedentary lifestyle. “These drinks instantly replenish the energy lost during playing games or strenuous workouts. But they are high on sugar and can promote fat storage in your body,” explains Agarwal.



Rasmalai

5

Honey can help lose weight:

Drinking warm water with honey and lime helps flush out the toxins from the body but it’s got nothing to do with shedding flab. “The bottled honey that you buy off the shelf is high in sugar and hardly has any weight loss effect,” says Dr Saini.



6

Low fat salad dressing is healthy:

There’s no dearth of ‘low-fat’ salad dressing that spruces up the shelves of fancy grocery stores. “While these dressings offer a reduced amount of fat, the taste is often salvaged by adding sugar,” says Agarwal. If you fancy low-fat salad dressing, create them at home with lime juice, olive oil, vinegar and homemade yogurt.



7

No grain is as healthy as wheat:

If you thought wheat was the healthiest grain, you need to know this: Wheat is high in gluten that’s composed of sticky storage proteins. “It can trigger Gluten-sensitive enteropathy (GSE) that leads to inflammation of small intestine. Symptoms could be severe abdominal pain and loose motions,” says Dr Saini. Therefore, use barley, soya, gram flour and bajra rather than wheat alone while making chapattis or cookies.



8

You should ban saturated fat from your diet:

If you thought cutting down saturated fats from your food is a great idea, think again. Saturated fats act like a cushion for our organs, and help form cell membranes and a variety of essential hormones. “A combination of saturated, monosaturated and polysaturated fats is required for a healthy cholesterol level. They also help absorb vitamins A, D, E and K,” says Dr Saini.