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Not so fantastic 5

There are some “healthy” foods that are actually unhealthy. Brown bread, ready to eat cereals, protien shakes, energy drinks are not so healthy as you think, discovers Sujata Reddy.

india Updated: Jul 13, 2009 17:15 IST
Sujata Reddy

Brown bread
Most brown breads are highly processed, contain little fibre and whole grains, are high in fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated fats.

Brown bread is considered a healthy option since it is made out of whole-wheat flour as opposed to plain flour that goes into white bread. Real brown bread is coarse. If it is soft and fluffy, it is unlikely to be made of atta.

Ready-to-eat cereals
These are produced by a process called extrusion wherein each flake that comes out from the nozzle is sprayed with a coating of oil and sugar to seal it off and make it crunchy. High heat and pressure destroy many nutrients in the grains. The proteins become toxic.

An experiment carried out on rats in 1960 revealed that those receiving cornflakes and water died before those eating the box in which it was packed! Autopsy revealed dysfunction of the pancreas, liver and kidneys and spinal nerve degeneration.

Protien shakes
Most people get enough protein in their daily diet without additional protein powders or liquids. The recommended amount of protein varies, but most experts advise maximum two grams of protein per kg of body weight each day, even if you are into heavy exercise. Most people get that much through a normal diet. The body cannot handle the excess.

Fruit juices, energy drinks
Most of these so-called health drinks are loaded with sugar to make them palatable. Those with high sugar content now disguise it as crystalline fructose, high fructose corn syrup or HFCS. Many health benefit claims are not based on good science. Electrolyte disturbances and heart irregularities are some reactions associated with these energy drinks.

Non-stick and microwave
Teflon contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It can affect the brain, lungs and kidney and cause cancer too. Microwave cooking begins within the molecules of food where water is present. The energy is transformed into violent frictional heat that affects the structures of molecules, leading to disorders in the digestive system. It can also cause loss of memory.

Dr Sujata Udeshi, Ph.D., Food Science and Nutrition, has selected the five foods