Some product labeling claims are not supported by the nutrition facts on foods

Nutrition Facts on Foods & Product Label Claims

SOME PRODUCT LABELING CLAIMS ARE NOT SUPPORTED BY THE NUTRITION FACTS ON FOODS

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can view it here.

We’ve all seen the nutrition facts on foods. The official looking panel has been part of the product label since 1994 and lets us know how much of this or that nutrient is in a serving of that food. The standardized format lends a certain credibility to the information it contains.

But what about the claims made on the front of the package and in food ads?

Stretching the Truth in Product Labeling Claims

When the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) was passed by Congress in 1990, it included regulations for the nutrient content claims that can appear on food labels. These regulations cover the words and phrases that be used to describe the nutrient content, whereas the Nutrition Facts panel contains the actual amounts.

Did you know a food can’t claim it’s “high” or “low” in a nutrient unless it meets strict definitions set by the government for use of those terms? Same for “light,” “low,” and “lean.” The nutrient content claim regulations for what can be said on a food label also include the terms “good source of,” “excellent source of,” “contains,” ‘provides,” “more,” “rich in,” “reduced” and “free.”

Each of those words or phrases means a serving of the food has a certain amount of the nutrient it’s being used to describe. For example, “low fat” means there are 3 grams or less of fat in a serving while ”rich in calcium” means it contains 20 percent or more of the Daily Value for calcium.

As thorough as these regulations seem, copy writers have found a way around them. Some descriptive language I came across while reading the circular from a national grocery chain today made that clear. If you see any of these while shopping, be sure to check the nutrition facts on the food label to find out what’s really in there.

Unregulated Nutrient Content Terms on Product Labeling

  • packed with
  • jam-packed with
  • bursting with
  • loaded with
  • full of
  • chock-full of
  • stuffed with
  • best source of
  • greatest source of
  • filled with
  • brimming with
  • abundant source of
  • plentiful

Also worth reading: Imagine Food Shopping Without Nutrition Facts on Food Labels

Myths about dieting and best weight loss diet make news

Update on Dieting and Weight Loss News

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can view it here.

MYTHS ABOUT DIETING AND BEST WEIGHT LOSS DIET MAKE NEWS

News about how to lose weight is always newsworthy, even when there is nothing new to say. But that doesn’t matter. We are fed a steady stream of information about dieting and weight control to keep the conversation going. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear a broadcaster say just once, “There will be no weight loss news tonight.”

I know I’ve had my fill.

Last month we had the unique opportunity to hear about the best weight loss diet and the top obesity myths in the same news cycle. You can’t beat that for intrigue!

What’s True About Weight Loss?

The annual list of the best diets from U.S. News & World Report arrived with the usual excitement, followed by reflexive disappointment. Whether the goal is to lose weight, get healthy or control disease, the best diets in each category still require making better food choices and keeping track of them. Nothing new there.

The top weight loss diets were all about common sense things like eating more vegetables and less meat, taking smaller portions of food and bigger amounts of exercise, and being more focused on your food than your social networks when eating. Is there anyone left who doesn’t know that?

What’s Not True About Weight Loss?

The other story grabbing headlines last month was about obesity myths. Apparently everything we’ve told about dieting and weight loss isn’t true, or at least it hasn’t been scientifically proven.

Researchers at the University of Alabama wanted to set the record straight, so looked for the studies to back up the most popular beliefs about obesity. They reported their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine and said “false and scientifically unsupported beliefs about obesity are pervasive.”

Did you know there’s no proof that taking more physical education classes will curb obesity in kids or that eating more frequently throughout the day will help? With or without proof, it seems pretty obvious to me that the advice isn’t working. But it’s still news.

What Can We Do About Weight Loss?

Why not take a break from all the weight loss news and act on what we already know? There are no game-changing discoveries around the corner. Nothing new is in the pipeline that will make the task easier. And there is never going to be a magic potion that will melt our fat away.

It’s time to stop talking about dieting and weight loss and start doing something about it. We could really surprise all those researchers if we were successful in spite of the myths!

Some other thoughts on the issue can be found here:

  • Technology Beats Temptation in New Weight Watchers Plan
  • 3 Great Tips for losing Weight
  • 5 Sure Steps to Achieving Weight Loss
  • Choosing the Right Diet Plan
  • 8 Ways to Lose Weight This Spring
  • 10 Cheap Diet Solutions for Safe Weight Loss
  • What Fads Diets for Weight Loss Have You Tried?
Heart disease research shows eggs unfairly blamed for clogged arteries in cardiovascular disorders

Clogged Arteries Are Not Due to Eggs

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can view it here.

HEART DISEASE RESEARCH SHOWS EGGS UNFAIRLY BLAMED FOR CLOGGED ARTERIES IN CARDIOVASCULAR DISORDERS

One of the first things I remember learning about cardiovascular disorders as a student dietitian was that clogged arteries was the common cause. I vividly recall the illustration in my textbook of a heart attack triggered by a blockage in the flow of blood. The heart disease research available at the time hinted that it was the cholesterol in eggs that was responsible for that blockage.

I’d like to revisit the subject of eggs, cholesterol and heart disease as we celebrate American Heart Month.

Eggs were first linked to the rising rates of cardiovascular disorders in this country back in the 1970s. As a result, dietary guidelines started recommending that we limit our consumption of egg yolks to no more than 3 per week.

That triggered a lot of diners to add egg white omelets to their menus, but it didn’t slow down the rates of heart disease. It is the number one cause of death for men and women alike, and has held that distinction for over 60 years. More Americans will die of heart disease this year than all forms of cancer combined.

600,000 deaths a year can’t possibly be due to eggs.

What’s Do You Like With Your Eggs?

Some of the earliest evidence used to blame eggs for heart disease was based on research that showed the people who ate the most eggs had a greater incidence of heart attacks than those who ate few eggs. But as we should all know by now, that kind of data does not prove causation.

A closer look on the plates of the egg eaters revealed they liked their eggs with bacon or sausage, fried potatoes, buttered toast and cream in their coffee, followed by a cigarette. When more diligent researchers took a look at what else the big breakfast crowd was eating, they found plenty of other incriminating evidence. Their diets were filled with meats high in saturated fats and low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, yet eggs took all the blame for their chest pain.

Then there was the research that showed heart disease was caused by clogged arteries, and the plaque clogging our arteries was formed by cholesterol, and eggs were high in cholesterol. The advice that followed was to eat fewer eggs to stop plaque formation. But the dots hadn’t been connected yet that could prove the cholesterol in eggs was the same cholesterol that found in heart-stopping plaque.

As it turned out, those dots didn’t connect. The dietary cholesterol we get from egg yolks, liver and lobster is not the same cholesterol that ends up causing clogged arteries. Instead, we make our own custom cholesterol, mostly from saturated fat, and eggs are low in saturated fat.

Vindication of the Egg

A large scale study published this month in the British Medical Journal provides a much-needed defense of the egg. Scientists did a meta-analysis of 17 previously published reports on egg consumption and the incidence of heart disease or stroke. The analysis included over 12,000 cases of either heart disease or stroke and follow up that covered more than 7 million “person years.” The conclusion was that consuming up to an egg a day was not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke among non-diabetic people.

Getting to The Heart Truth About Heart Disease

Just like eating eggs does not cause heart disease, wearing red doesn’t stop it. The Heart Truth campaign uses the red dress to promote awareness of the risk factors for heart disease in women so we will take action to lower our risk. The first step is to know these numbers:

  • Blood pressure
  • Blood cholesterol
  • Blood glucose
  • Body Mass Index (based on height and weight)
  • Waist circumference

If your numbers are too high, work with your health care team to lower them. At least you won’t have to worry about giving up eggs to do it!

Trends in Restaurant Food Service for 2013

13 Trends in Restaurant Food Service for 2013

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read my original blog here.

RESTAURANT FOOD SERVICE NEWS PREDICTS WHAT WE’LL SEE ON MENUS IN THE YEAR AHEAD

After researching all of the predictions by the people in the know, I compiled my own list of restaurant trends we can expect this year to complement my earlier post about food trends for 2013. There is some overlap in what we’ll be buying and preparing at home and what we’ll be ordering off menus, but overall it promises to be another year of adventurous eating!

Restaurant News & Food Service Trends

  1. Big breakfasts aren’t just for weekends. The most important meal of the day is catching on as a way to eat well for less than the cost of a lunch or dinner out. More protein will be seen on menus along with the eggs, such as beef and ham steaks, sausage and chorizo, and salmon and crab.
  2. Vegetables move beyond salads and side dishes. We’ll see more innovative uses of vegetables as entrees, such as cauliflower steak, without necessarily being part of a meat-free meal.
  3. Grown-up flavors appear on kid’s menus. There’ll be real fish in those tacos and a wholesome whole grains in the buns surrounding the sliders, and all of it will be much more nutritious than standard fare kid’s food.
  4. Small plates will be enough for adults. Tapas-style eating will allow you to order some fish or meat, vegetables and starch to make the right-sized meal for any appetite.
  5. Popcorn will be the snack-turned-garnish that is served with everything from soup to ice cream. The beauty of this whole grain is that it can be dusted with any flavor to complement a meal or be a great stand alone snack.
  6. Apps and iPads in the dining room. We’d all like to see fewer cell phones in use when dining, but using a smart phone app or tablet computer to peruse the menu and place your order is technology that’s on its way.
  7. New cuts of beef and more varietals make the grade. Expect to find parts of the cow you’ve never seen before on menu, including the organ meats, for those looking to expand their animal protein options.
  8. “Have it your way” isn’t just at Burger King. Restaurants are ready to accept your special requests for gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan, or whatever else it takes to keep you happy and satisfied.
  9. Food from the Southern Hemisphere is “Nex-Mex.” This year we’ll be moving beyond Mexican cuisine to the flavors and dishes of Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
  10. Adult beverages minus the alcohol make a splash. Specialty cocktails will feature herbs and exotic nectars while distilled ciders and homemade sodas appear on tap.
  11. Sustainable seafood is catching on. Just like knowing where your eggs were laid, cows were milked and tomatoes were harvested, diners will expect to know where the catch of the day was actually caught.
  12. “Know your grower” menu descriptions help sell food. Customers can help support local farmers, cheese-makers, bakers and other providers of sustainable and artisanal foods when they see their wares being advertised on the menu.
  13. Family-style take-out lets you eat out at home. You’ll find special menus in some restaurants for foods you can order in quantity and pick-up packaged with instructions for you to reheat and serve.
Cheap diet solutions for safe weight loss if trying to diet on a budget

10 Cheap Diet Solutions for Safe Weight Loss

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Family Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013 but you can view the original blog here.

Trying to diet on a budget can seem impossible when you see the price tags on the latest gluten-free foods and shiny new gym equipment that promise safe weight loss for those with fat wallets. As a challenge, i took a walk through the nearest discount dollar store to identify cheap diet solutions for those with good intentions, but modest means. I wasn’t disappointed. Here are ten items you can buy for ten dollars that will help you eat right and get in shape so you can lose and save at the same time!

Blank Notebook: Cheap Diet Solutions for Safe Weight Loss

The most valuable part of any healthy makeover is a blank book. Use it to record your goals, weight, measurements, and daily food intake and physical activity. If you faithfully and honestly fill the pages each and every day, you’ll soon discover the book was the most effective weight loss program you ever tried.

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Tape Measure: Cheap Diet Solutions for Safe Weight Loss

Stepping on a scale is not the only way to measure your progress, or the best. A simple cloth tape measure can be used to get some baseline measurements that will help you see the loss of inches in places where it really counts. Be sure to include: waist and hip circumference, thigh, calf, upper arm and chest.

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Index Cards: Cheap Diet Solutions for Safe Weight Loss

It may seem old school to write recipes on index cards, but not if you use them for a collection of your favorite fool-proof, quick, easy, and tasty dishes that are diet-friendly. Take the time to try new recipes and be selective about which ones you allow into your collection. If you just find one new recipe a week there will be 52 winners in the box by this time next year.

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Measuring Cups: Cheap Diet Solutions for Safe Weight Loss

Like it or not, all food contains calories and the serving size of the food you eat determines how many calories it contains – no matter how nutritious the food may be. Using measuring cups to both prepare your food and portion it at home will help you stick to your calorie budget and train your eye for the meals eaten away from home when you have to guesstimate.

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Measuring Spoons: Cheap Diet Solutions for Safe Weight Loss

Just like the foods measured in measuring cups, there are calories in the smaller things we eat that are measured with measuring spoons, like cooking oils, salad dressing, and soft spreads. It isn’t easy to free-pour one tablespoon of olive oil into a skillet, so it pays to measure it since each additional tablespoon adds another 110 calories.

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Food Storage Containers: Cheap Diet Solutions for Safe Weight Loss

One of the biggest challenges to healthy eating is eating out regularly. By having a complete set of food storage containers you can take your breakfast, lunch and snacks with you to work with you, if needed. It’s a great way to use the leftovers from all those meals you’ll be preparing at home, too.

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Insulated Lunch Sack: Cheap Diet Solutions for Safe Weight Loss

Now that you’ve got a set of food storage containers, you need and insulated sack to carry them in when filled with food. These sacks come in enough different styles you’ll never have to guess which lunch is yours in the office refrigerator, and they’re flexible enough to slip into your shoulder-strap bag or back pack for hands-free travel.

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Freezer Packs: Cheap Diet Solutions for Safe Weight Loss

Keep an assortment of these freezer packs in different sizes in the freezer so they’re ready to add to your lunch sack. Remember, there’s nothing healthy about food that hasn’t been kept at the proper temperature.

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Egg Timer: Cheap Diet Solutions for Safe Weight Loss

No matter how many features you have on your smart phone, they can only help you if you know how to use them. A simple kitchen timer is a no-brainer way to build short bursts of activity into your day. Set it to ring once every hour then, then get up and stand, walk, or stretch for 5 minutes.

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Handheld Mirror: Cheap Diet Solutions for Safe Weight Loss

Give yourself some words of encouragement each and every day, you’re worth it!

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Breakfast can be made up of any foods that are part of a healthy diet

Breakfast Myth: Breakfast Foods Are Too Fattening

This blog was written as a guest post for the Bell Institute for Health and Nutrition. You can read the original post here.

It’s easy to understand how some people might believe that certain foods are more “fattening” than others. Classifying foods based on whether they can make you gain weight or not is a far simpler notion to grasp than the concept of energy balance (where calories in should equal calories out)!

So whenever the topic of “fattening foods” comes up, I try to clarify the issue with this brief lesson in anatomy: The stomach does not have eyes.

That’s my way of explaining that the body has no idea what we have eaten. It does not know (or judge!) whether we have had a chocolate éclair for breakfast or a chewy granola bar. It just sorts out the nutrients and calories that were in the food and either uses them, stores them or eliminates them, as needed.

I then explain that since the body continually “sorts” what we are eating all day long, no one food can really be more “fattening” than any other. It’s the sum of all the calories we have consumed by the end of the day that determine whether or not we have exceeded our energy needs, which could make us gain weight over time.

Once that concept sinks in, it’s possible to illustrate how all foods can actually be included in a well-balanced diet complemented by regular physical activity. It also provides an ideal time to introduce the topic of nutrient density – another difficult one to grasp.

My approach is to stress the fact that all of the calories in the foods we eat are exactly the same, but the nutrients are not. And since we need more than 50 distinct nutrients to maintain health and prevent disease, we must choose our foods so they deliver the best nutritional package for the calories they provide.

From there it’s a smooth transition to a discussion of food groups to understand how different types of foods fit together to make an overall healthy eating plan, such as in MyPlate. Any lingering thoughts about “fattening” breakfast foods are then easily replaced by the more important question, ”What are the best breakfast choices for me?”

Consider these important facts about ready-to-eat cereal with fat free milk and fruit when you answer. One serving provides:

  • Less than 200 calories per serving on average
  • Key nutrients many of which are lacking in American diets – calcium, potassium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, folate and fiber
  • Many whole grain options that help meet the goal of making half our grain choices whole grain
  • More nutrients with the fewest calories compared to most other popular breakfast choices
Any food can be eaten for breakfast

Breakfast Myth: Skipping Breakfast Because You Don’t Like Breakfast Foods

This blog was written as a guest post for the Bell Institute for Nutrition and Heath. You can read the original post here.

One of the things I love most about being a registered dietitian is all of the fascinating things I learn about food from my clients and consumers. Whether it’s the personal preference of one person I met to put salt on watermelon or the cultural tradition of the entire nation to eat pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, it is people who give meaning to food. The more insight we have into these acquired and ascribed meanings, the better we will be as nutrition educators.

For example, what comes into your mind when you think of “breakfast foods?” You may imagine the foods you enjoyed eating for breakfast when you were growing up or the ones you now prepare for your own family. Simple, everyday fare may come to mind, such as cereal and milk, or a special family recipe for Stuffed French Toast. Either way, they are all foods that symbolize breakfast for you.

The same is true for each of us. So when we talk about the importance of eating breakfast every day, we must remember that will mean different things to different people. And for some, it may mean a very limited menu of foods they no longer enjoy or have time to prepare.

When people tell me they don’t eat breakfast because they don’t like breakfast foods, I ask them what particular foods they are referring to. No matter what is on their list, I always reassure them they don’t ever have to eat those foods for breakfast or any other time of day if they don’t want to. This helps put them at ease and keep them receptive to whatever I might say next.

That is when I tell them that there are no “official” breakfast foods. What each of us eats in the morning is a matter of taste, time and tradition. In northern Nigeria a typical breakfast consists of fried cakes made from ground beans. A traditional weekend breakfast in Japan may consist of miso soup and steamed white rice topped with a beaten raw egg then wrapped in seaweed and eaten with pickles. The message we want to get across is that there are many ways to make a great breakfast.

By dismantling the idea that only certain foods can be eaten – or must be eaten – at breakfast, we can help consumers who may be skipping this important meal because they don’t like the choices. What they will soon discover is the possibilities are limitless!

Now, tell us – what are some of the breakfast challenges you’ve encountered in your practice?

 

Eating regualr meals makes it easier to control food chocies

Breakfast Myth: Skipping Breakfast to Save Calories

This blog was written for the Bell Institute for Health and Nutrition. You can read the original post here.

After writing my last post about Making Time for Breakfast I realized it covered just one of several reasons given by clients for not eating in the morning. Since there are so many others I thought it would be useful to put together a short series on the Top Myths for Not Eating Breakfast.

Many people believe that if they do not eat breakfast they will consume fewer calories by the end of the day and lose weight. This is one of those ideas that looks good on paper, but might not work out as planned.
Besides all of the nutritional benefits of eating breakfast, starting the day with a meal may help improve weight management. In fact, it is one of the most common behaviors shared by the 10,000+ people who make up the National Weight Control Registry.
In reality, this belief in “calorie saving” can sabotage the unknowing dieter and can even lead to weight gain and frustration. Here are the proof points needed to help you dispel the myth that skipping breakfast= weight loss.
BELIEF
I will eat less by the end of the day.
REALITY
A recent study suggests that those who skip breakfast may end up eating more when they finally eat, and could make less healthy, more high-caloric choices.
BELIEF
Not eating for 15 hours or more will make me lose weight faster.
REALITY
Your metabolism is likely regulated by the amount of fuel supplied to it throughout the day. Choosing not to refuel after an overnight fast, may slow down your metabolic rate and affect weight loss.
BELIEF
I like to have plenty of calories left at the end of the day so I can eat all I want.
REALITY
Hunger is a signal from your body that lets you know you need to eat. You also get a signal that tells you when you’ve had enough so you can stop when you are satisfied. If you learn to respond to these two internal cues, you will be less likely to eat for other “external” reasons and may have an easier time managing your weight.
Two new anti-obesity drugs have been approved this summer giving consumers more help with weight loss

3 Anti-Obesity Drugs Now Available in U.S.

This post was written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read the original post here.

TWO NEW ANTI-OBESITY DRUGS HAVE BEEN APPROVED THIS SUMMER GIVING CONSUMERS MORE HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS

After 13 years with only one Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved pill for weight loss available in the U.S., the agency added two more anti-obesity drugs to the arsenal in the past 30 days. Qsymia is the latest.

I covered the Belviq when it was approved last month. Before that, Xenical was the only option. It received FDA approval in 1999, then became available in a lower dose as the over-the-counter drug Alli in 2007.

What does this recent flurry of activity in the world of anti-obesity drugs mean?

To the 68 percent of American adults who are either overweight or obese (that’s more than 23 million people) it means hope. Hope that one of these drugs will help them win the battle they fight every day with overeating. They still have to learn to make better food choices and be more physically active – no pill can replace that – but maybe, just maybe, one of these prescriptions will make it easier.

Obesity is a complex disease with multiple causes. No single treatment will work for everyone. Since each of these drugs functions in a different way, one could be better for you than another.

If you tried weight loss pills in the past and didn’t get the results you expected, you may want to try again. If you’ve been afraid to try them before, keep an open mind. It’s a hard battle to win alone.

FAQ About the Anti-Obesity Drugs

How do they work?

  • Some have a single mode of action, others have a combination of effects. They may:
  • Suppress appetite
  • Increase metabolism
  • Block absorption
  • Increase satiety
  • Stimulate alertness

How much weight can I lose?

FDA approval is based on studies that show weight loss is greater using the drug than can be achieved from just diet and exercise alone. Weight loss varies for each drug and with one’s ability to comply with the diet and exercise recommendations, but range from 5-10 percent.

How long must I take them?

Each of the available drugs must be taken daily to maintain results. They are not a cure, but a treatment that must be continued for the rest of one’s life.

Do they have side effects?

As with most drugs there are risks associated with their use, but when taken as recommended the benefits are expected to outweigh any risks for most people.

Can anyone take them?

Most are approved for adults only. Some are restricted if pregnant, when taking certain medications or if suffering from other conditions. These concerns must be discussed with your physician.

Some related blogs:

  • My post on last month’s anti-obesity drug: New Weight Loss Drug Wins FDA Approval
  • Some thoughts on what obesity is not: Reflections on Obesity and the Weight of the Nation
  • Why obesity isn’t our biggest problem: Metabolic Syndrome is Worse than Obesity

 

Don’t eliminate good for you foods from your diet based on a single ingredient

9 Good For You Foods That Get A Bad Rap

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

DON’T ELIMINATE THESE 9 GOOD FOR YOU FOODS FROM YOUR DIET

Some foods that get a bad rap are actually good for you foods that should not be eliminated from a healthy diet. The problem is some people like to judge foods based on a single ingredient or nutritional feature without regard to the total contribution the food makes to the diet. That’s just not right.

Why judging foods and ingredients too harshly is flawed:

  • New information about what’s in our food and what we need to be healthy is continually being discovered
  • How much and how often we eat something is more important in determining risk-benefit than any single attribute of a food.
  • If you remember Woody Allen’s proclamation in the movie Sleeper, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s just a matter of time before once forbidden foods become forgiven foods. Think coffee, wine, and chocolate. Who knows what’s next?

Eggs, potatoes, nuts, olive oil, and avocados have already been redeemed. Then there is the whole new world of phytonutrients – those naturally occurring compounds in plants with powerful health benefits – that are being found in foods we never expected to be superstars, like mushrooms, onions, and garlic.

The key is to keep moderation in mind for everything you eat since too much of anything can be harmful. And here are some foods you definitely should not abandon.

9 Good For You Foods That Get a Bad Rap

Cheese – Fill nutrient gaps for calcium and phosphorus with cheese and get a versatile source of protein that can take center-stage in a meal or make side dishes taste better. Research shows people whose diets include cheese have lower risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

Bananas – Available year round for about 35₵ each, bananas are an affordable and satisfying snack. Don’t worry about that fact a banana has more calories than a grape; you’re far more likely to eat too many grapes, but not too many bananas.

Coconut Oil– Not all tropical oils are the same, meaning high in artery-clogging saturated fat. The main saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, a medium-chained fatty acid than can actually increase good HDL cholesterol levels. It is also known for its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties.

Lean Pork – Pigs are being fed and bred to provide cuts that are as lean as skinless chicken. Look for pork tenderloin, top loin roast, center loin chops, and rib chops to add some variety to your meat menus.

Dark Meat Chicken –It may be a bit higher in calories and fat than breast meat, but skinless chicken legs and thighs have other advantages. Dark meat is less expensive than light meat and much more flavorful, so you’re less likely to prepare it with lots of coatings and gravy that add fat and calories.

Vegetable Juice – Low sodium versions can be used to get needed vegetable servings into your daily diet when no raw or cooked vegetables are available. It’s also a great base for soups and sauces that you can season as you like.

Dried Fruit – Naturally sweet and delicious, dried fruits can be nibbled on instead of candy while helping you get the recommended 2-4 servings of fruit each day. Use dried blueberries or plums Amazins (dried plum pieces) anywhere raisins are called for when cooking and baking.

Peanut Butter – Like hummus, peanut butter is made from a legume and is a versatile source of protein. It can be incorporated into any snack to help you feel satisfied longer so you won’t keep snacking. Unlike hummus, it can be paired with sweet or savory foods, like apple slices, celery sticks, whole grain crackers or caramel rice cakes.

Granola Bars – Whether looking to get a boost in whole grains, protein, energy, or all three, there’s a bar to meet your needs. Some are enriched to provide additional vitamins and minerals, but their best feature of all is that they’re portion controlled and ready for on-the-go eating. While not great as a meal replacement, they can be the perfect cookie replacement!

Be sure to check these other posts on the same topic:

  • Peanut Butter: The Food That’s in 90% of US Households!
  • The World’s Most Popular Drug: Caffeine
  • Cheese is a Great Source of Protein, Too!
  • Getting More Fruit in Your Diet With Dried Fruit