5 Foods Nutritionists Would Never Eat

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UAE nutritionist Hala Barghout reveals which foods would never hit her shopping trolley



There is nothing I enjoy more than a cup of fresh coffee to jump start my day. Fortunately for me and the other coffee lovers out there, many research studies have associated regular coffee consumption with a variety of health benefits, such as reducing your chances of heart disease, stroke or diabetes. However, I will steer clear of adding extras to my drink as they are nothing more than high-fat milk products or sugary syrups. A large vanilla latte, for example, contains more than 300 calories, whereas a large plain cup of coffee contains only five calories. If you can’t give up your speciality coffee, go for skimmed cow’s, almond or soy milk, and small or regular sizes.



Fat-free peanut butter, fat-free meats and fat-free dairy fit into the category of what I like to call “foods that don’t make sense”. To reduce the fat in for example, peanut butter, manufacturers simply reduce the amount of peanuts used and replace it with sugar. The problem is, the original product (containing only peanuts) was much healthier than the altered product for two main reasons: It contained a healthy monounsaturated fat, and it did not influence blood sugar increases or insulin production. My advice is to stick with foods that are unaltered from the original state and focus on portion control. Peanut butter should have one ingredient: peanuts.



We know that diets high in fibre are good for us. They’re associated with decreased total blood cholesterol, prevention of constipation and increased satiety. While fibre is naturally present in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, many consumers are bypassing the whole food options and going straight for the popular fibre bar, which is nothing more than a candy bar in disguise. A well-known brand of fibre bars lists the following as some of the ingredients: high maltose corn syrup, sugar, honey, palm kernel oil, and fructose. These are the same ingredients found in many popular candy bars. Grab an apple to get the all the healthy benefits of fibre.



They’re made of processed meat and they’re loaded with cholesterol-raising saturated fat and sodium. Consuming processed meats such as hotdogs or sausages, is said to increase a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer. High in sodium, a diet full of hot dogs can also lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Processed meats also contain sodium nitrite, a preservative that helps prevent botulism food poisoning and gives cured meats their characteristic red colour. During cooking, however, nitrite can react with compounds naturally present in meat to form nitrosamines and nitrosamides, several of which have been associated with certain cancers in humans and animals.



Doughnuts are fried, full of sugar and white flour, and almost all varieties contain trans fats. Store-bought doughnuts are made up of about 35 per cent to 40 per cent trans fat, and an average doughnut contains about 200 to 300 calories, mostly from sugar. Trans fats not only raise “bad” LDL cholesterol, but also lower levels of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol. High trans-fat intake has been linked to coronary heart disease, in which fatty plaques build up in the heart arteries, sometimes leading to a heart attack. From a nutritionist’s perspective, eating a doughnut is one of the worst ways to start off your day. It will throw off your blood sugar and doesn’t provide any real nutrients, which means you’ll soon be hungry again.


Hala Barghout is a nutritionist and health promoter based in Dubai.









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