All Posts In Is It Healthy?

Ghee: Is It Healthy?

by in Is It Healthy?, June 5, 2017

Also known as clarified butter, ghee has been making many appearances on grocery store shelves. It has been touted to have many supposed health benefits including increasing metabolism, decreasing inflammation, and improving heart health. It’s even thought to be better tolerated by those who suffer from lactose intolerance. However, the science doesn’t exactly support all these claims.

What is ghee?

Ghee is made by melting butter while allowing the water to evaporate. This allows the milk solids to separate, and result in a translucent golden liquid known as ghee. Because the milk solids are removed, this allows for a higher smoke point than butter (485°F verses 350°F, respectively). It’s also why ghee is a perfect medium for high heat cooking, like often called for in Indian cuisine.   Read more

Myth or Fact? Artificially-Colored Foods Are Bad for You

by in Food & Nutrition Experts, Is It Healthy?, January 17, 2017

Ever wonder how some of your favorite foods are made? And if they’re supposed to be that color? We’re cracking the code on some infamous colored foods to find out if they naturally occur that way or if they had some help.

Color Me Unhealthy?
Many beloved foods we eat everyday are doctored with colorings to improve visual appeal. In some cases these colorful enhancements are food based and therefore safe, but others have potentially harmful chemical infusions. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, eating these synthetic dyes may pose harm and cause behavioral problems, especially in children.

Highly processed foods like soda, commercial baked goods, candy, frozen treats, salty snacks (think cheese doodles) and kids’ breakfast cereals are some of the worst and most obvious offenders. Potentially dangerous yellow 5, red 40 and red 3 dyes are found in numerous foods, and have been linked to behavioral problems and allergic reactions. Europe has imposed strict regulations on the use of these coloring agents, but in the United States progress has been much slower. Some U.S. chains and manufacturers including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Panera, General Mills and Nestle don’t sell products with dyes and/or are beginning to remove them from some of their products. Here are 4 foods that might raise a colorful flag. Read more

Kombucha: Good or Bad?

by in Is It Healthy?, October 2, 2016

With the exploding popularity of fermented foods, it’s likely that kombucha has ended up on your radar or even in your fridge. But is this drinkable fermented tea worthwhile?

The Good
A concoction of tea, sugar, fruit juice, bacteria and yeast are combined to create a pungent and slightly fizzy beverage. Homemade and store-bought versions require a jelly-like substance known as the “mother” or “scoby,” which introduces bacteria and yeast into the flavored liquid that’s then allowed to ferment. This drink is often touted for its tummy-pleasing probiotics plus numerous B vitamins. Some blends also include additional fiber and Omega-3 fats from add-ins like chia seeds, greens, herbs and algae.

The Bad
A potential downside of these drinks is the wide range of nutritional variation. Depending on the ingredients, calories can range from 60 to 160 per (16 fluid ounce) bottle. The fermenting process also creates a small amount of alcohol. Though they are desirable for their probiotic content, these beneficial bacteria are destroyed by pasteurization. Unpasteurized or “raw” varieties are available but could pose a food safety risk, as potentially harmful bacteria could grow in the liquid. For this reason, folks with weaker immune systems, including young children, elderly people and pregnant women, should steer clear. Read more

Coleslaw: Is It Healthy?

by in Is It Healthy?, July 4, 2016

Yes
According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 90 percent of adults do not consume the daily recommended dose of vegetables. The veggies from coleslaw can count toward your recommended daily amount. Further, you don’t have to drown your coleslaw in mayo. In my cookbook, The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day, I explain how you can use a 50:50 ratio of reduced-fat mayo to nonfat plain Greek yogurt to get the flavor you love for a fraction of the calories. Or instead of using a half-cup to one cup of mayo, you can use a quarter-cup.

Coleslaw can also go beyond cabbage, so don’t be afraid to think outside the coleslaw box and use shredded veggies like carrots, kohlrabi, radishes or cucumbers as the base for your slaw. You can also make a slimmed-down slaw like those in the recipes below:

Coleslaw with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette
Bobby Flay uses lime juice, olive oil, garlic and cumin as a lighter dressing.

Classic Coleslaw with Caraway
Ellie Krieger uses a combo of yogurt and low-fat mayo for 110 calories and 7 grams of fat per serving.

Asian Red Cabbage Slaw with Peanuts
The chefs in Food Network Kitchen give their coleslaw an Asian flair for less than 120 calories per serving by using toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, spicy mustard and grated ginger. Read more

Good or Bad: Whipped Topping

by in Is It Healthy?, June 27, 2016

Everyone gets excited about a fluffy pile of sugary whipped goodness, dolloped high atop a slice of pie or ice cream sundae. Store-bought whipped topping may seem like a healthy alternative to decadent whipped cream, but you might want to read this before you garnish your next dessert.

Good
Whipped toppings tend to come in lower on the calorie-and-fat scale than traditional whipped cream. Two tablespoons of frozen whipped topping contain 25 calories and 1.5 grams of fat, while canned whipped topping has about 20 calories and 1 gram of fat for the same two-tablespoon serving. You may be shocked to learn that the same two-tablespoon serving of whipped cream has 100 calories and 10 grams of fat. And seriously, who eats only two tablespoons of any of this stuff?! Premade whipped toppings offer convenience, as a sweet and creamy serving is a quick spoonful or spray away. Read more

Good or Bad: Rice Pudding

by in Is It Healthy?, May 16, 2016

This traditional dessert has been making a comeback on social media, but is it a good idea to eat this comfort food regularly? Find out if you want to get involved with the recent renaissance of this dessert.

Good

The sweet, rich and creamy mixture is downright delish. You’ve got to love that it’s made from simple ingredients like rice, milk, sugar and eggs. While this is a dessert, it does offer some nutritional benefits, including almost 10 grams of protein and 15 percent of the daily recommendation for bone-building calcium per cup. Read more

Good or Bad: Smoothie Bowls

by in Is It Healthy?, May 10, 2016

Are you on trend with the smoothie-bowl phenomenon? Instead of sipping that smoothie, pour it into a bowl and add toppers like nuts, seeds and chunks of fresh fruit. Find out if these new vessels are healthy choices for your breakfast. Read more

Good or Bad: Seltzer

by in Is It Healthy?, March 6, 2016

Interested in staying hydrated with options beyond flat water? Effervescent seltzer may seem like a refreshingly healthy choice, but how healthy is it? Find out.

Read more

Guacamole: Is It Healthy?

by in Is It Healthy?, May 4, 2015

What’s Cinco de Mayo without a delicious bowl of guacamole? Avocados, however, are primarily composed of fat — so should guac still be part of your fiesta? Read more

Hummus: Is it Healthy?

by in Is It Healthy?, April 27, 2015

There’s been a lot of talk about hummus in the news lately following a recent recall of the popular spread. Assuming we take contamination off the table, is hummus a healthy choice? Read more

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