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Dave's Garden Cookbook: Unhealthy Health Foods

The 2001 Dave's Garden Cookbook

Unhealthy Health Foods

By gardendragon

Category: Helpful Hints and Tips

Many health food stores and the health food sections of supermarkets sell a wide range of good organic produce, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, organic cereals, grains, nuts and dried fruits. Others sell more pills than food, and many so-called 'health food' products on the market are not healthy at all.
Read the labels carefully before buying health foods such as carob products, soy chips, health and fruit bars, and popcorn as they may be high in fats and sugars.

Carob is ground from the beans of the carob or locust bean tree, and is used as a chocolate substitute. It is healthy in itself, but it has a bitter taste. To make carob more palatable producers often add sugar and fat, and the fat is usually highly saturated. In some carob bars the main ingredient is glucose syrup. Others have as much as 45% fat.

Soy chips are not healthy alternatives to potato chips. They have a kilojoule and fat content on a par with regular chips, although more of their fat is unsaturated. They also have one and a half times as much salt as regular chips.

Popcorn is healthy if you pop it yourself, but when packaged popcorn has 29% fat, compared with the 3% found in straight corn, it can no longer be considered healthy.

Health bars and sports bars are handy sources of kilojoules, but they cannot provide what you would get in a meal of fresh foods. Various types of sugar are the major ingredients in health or sports bars. Some contain added vitamins, but it would be much better to have some fresh foods if you need extra vitamins.

Fruit bars are basically fruit pastes. Some do not contain any of the fruit mentioned in their label name at all, only fruit flavour. Some have extra sugar, and none has as much fibre as you'd get in real fruit. All these products are hazardous for teeth.

Best choices
Chocolate: avoid substitutes such as carob, with high added sugars and fats, use real chocolate in moderation.
Snacks: low-fat corn chips, low-salt corn chips, popped corn using a hot-air popper or a little olive oil in a saucepan.
Health bars: read the ingredient list and choose bars that contain only dried fruit, seeds and nuts and no added sugar or fat; soy bars can be used as healthier alternatives to cakes, for those not overweight. Skip fruit bars and substitute fresh or dried fruit.

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