11 "Bad" Foods That Deserve Another Chance
Some foods have gotten a bad rap. Maybe word got around about how fatty they were, or they got caught in the "carbs are the enemy" crossfire. But many of these so-called "bad" foods aren't really all that bad for you. Some of them are even truly awesome for you. They're just a little bit misunderstood.
We checked in with a couple experts to sort out the good eggs from the bad eggs. Speaking of which...
Whole Eggs1 of 12
Myth: Eggs are way high in cholesterol, and thus cause heart disease.
Truth: Recent research has shown the cholesterol content of our foods have little effect on the cholesterol levels in our bodies. High cholesterol in the body has more to do with the combination of fats we're taking in. "They're full of protein at 6 grams per egg, good unsaturated fats, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin B12," says Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN. The little wonders also control appetite better than high-carb breakfasts, so whip up a healthy veggie omelet and nosh away.
Potatoes2 of 12
Myth: They're fattening.
Truth: They're fattening, when slathered in oil, doused with sour cream or fried up! But they can be a healthy carb source. "One potato is only 170 calories, rich in potassium and fiber, and the skins contain antioxidants," Glassman says. "These also regulate blood sugar levels to keep you full, and they aid in fat-burning."
Cheese3 of 12
Myth: Cheese is to blame for weight issues.
Truth: "Sure, cheese contains saturated fat and sodium, but it's also one of the leading sources of calcium and vitamin D," Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN says. If you need help keeping your cheese noshing in check, she recommends snacking on single-serving, part-skim, mozzarella string cheese or Babybel light cheeses.
Bread4 of 12
Myth: Bread-free is better.
Truth: "Many of us blame bread for all of our health or weight loss problems," says Moskovitz. "Not only is bread a great source of energizing carbs, but if eaten in 100% whole-grain form within sensible portions for your activity level, it's a significant source of B-vitamins, heart-healthy fiber and bone-building manganese." So learn to re-enjoy that whole-wheat toast with almond butter and a banana.
Rice5 of 12
Myth: Rice will cause you to pack on the pounds.
Truth: Carbs can and should be part of a healthy diet—rice included. "Brown rice regulates blood sugar keeping us fuller longer," Glassman says. "It's also high in fiber to regulate the digestive system, and has the nutrients selenium and manganese." Plus it's a whole grain, which reduces the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
Frozen Veggies6 of 12
Myth: Frozen veggies contain less nutrients than the "real deal."
Truth: "Vegetables are usually frozen immediately to retain their nutrients," says Glassman. So in addition to the oodles of antioxidants and nutrients you're pumping your system with, veggies are also a major source of fiber to keep you satiated. Plus, frozen = easy. #Winning.
Chocolate7 of 12
Myth: It's fattening, cholesterol-raising and sugar-loaded.
Truth: "Dark chocolate actually decreases LDL cholesterol, decreases blood pressure, and is packed with antioxidants," says Glassman. So, keep it to a one-ounce serving, but consider this indulgence a healthy gift to your diet.
Beans8 of 12
Myth: Beans are high in carbs, and therefore will cause weight gain.
Truth: As a meal addition, beans are great because of their versatility and variety—oh, yeah, and their many, many benefits. "They reduce cholesterol, they are high in antioxidants, folic acid, protein, and potassium," says Glassman. "And the high-fiber, low-sugar combination prevents insulin from spiking and causing hunger."
Coconut9 of 12
Myth: Coconut is full of saturated fat content and contains too many calories.
Truth: Unless you're planning on eating a whole cup (which would run you 283 calories and 24 grams of saturated fat), a sprinkle of coconut has tons of nutrient power. "The white part of the coconut is packed with fiber, protein, vitamins B1, B6, C and E, folic acid, calcium and iron," Glassman says. Whew! "Also, although it's high in saturated fat, it is a form of saturated fat—medium chain triglycerides or MCTs—that are more readily used for energy and less likely to be stored in the body as fat than other saturated fats."
Red Meat10 of 12
Myth: It's full of artery-clogging fat and calories.
Truth: Not that you should be eating a steak every night, but the occasional red-meat meal isn't all bad. "You're getting plenty of iron and immune-building zinc," says Moskovitz. "The trick is finding leaner cuts, such as sirloin steak and 90-percent lean ground beef, which are lower in saturated fat." Want to get extra credit? Choose grass-fed beef, which is even better for you with its omega-3 fatty acids to fight inflammation.
Soy11 of 12
Myth: It causes cancer.
Truth: "No studies have been able to solidly prove that soy is bad or leads to breast cancer," Moskovitz says. "There are many more studies that show the exact opposite. Just stay away from too much processed soy that's found in chips, desserts, and snack bars." Think edamame as a snack, fresh tofu for your salad, or lightly salted soy nuts to grab on the go.