I recently had a discussion with Emma about the various myths around food… a lot of us really don’t know who and what to listen to when it comes to nutrition advise. There’s so much conflicting information out there – Women’s health magazines will tell you to go for low fat options if you want to lose weight or try out soy milk as an alternative and your doctor may say to stay away from soy milk… then your friend will tell you her nutritionist recommended only eating for your blood type?! It’s hard to navigate your way through it all so I thought thought I’d have a little fun and ask Emma to demystify some of the common food myths. Here’s what we came up with:
Food Q & A’s answered by Emma Sgourakis
Q. Is soy a healthy alternative to milk?
A. No. We were never mean to ‘drink’ soybeans, especially not in an unfermented state. If you have trouble digesting pasteurized milk (most people do), you’re better off with cream (contains negligible la owe and casein – the problematic bits), or try goats’ products (less allergenic) or make nut milk, or use coconut milk …. or just have your coffee black!
Q. Are grains healthy for us?
A. Depends on the person, but studies are bringing to light more and more evidence of the detrimental side effects of grain consumption as well as their poor nutritional contribution, even when soaked and cultured to deactivate their anti-nutrients. The phytates, saponins, lectins and proteins (namely gluten) they contain have been linked to everything from IBS, auto-immune conditions, MS, infertility and premature aging, not to mention the carbohydrate load they bring (remember, bread = sugar) contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemic. So I guess my answer is no.
Q. Is Chicken healthier than red meat?
A. The marker of an ideal food is it’s essential fatty acid profile. Keep in mind the ‘golden ratio’ is 1 or 2 to 1, Omega 6 : Omega 3 (in a nut shell, omega 6 is inflammatory while omega 3 is anti-inflammatory). High quality grass-fed organic red meat has a ratio of around 2:1. This isn’t far off the best wild oily fish! Even though organic free-range chicken is a good food, it should be eaten less frequently, as it’s ratio is more like 8 or 9 to 1 (because chickens don’t eat grass, they thrive on worm and grain, so this dictates their fat profile). At least this is far better than conventional cage hens with a ratio of 20+:1, and all the other issues of the lack of vitamin D, and additional hormones, antibiotics etc. Eeeew.
Note: This goes for ‘grass-fed’ meat. Not grain, soy or corn. Cows weren’t designed to eat bread. They were meant to eat grass.
Q. Is cous cous healthier than rice?
A. Nope. It’s made from refined wheat. No better than pasta or white bread. Rice is a better choice because it contains none of the allergenic components, and if you choose basmati, it has a particularly low glycaemic index.
Q. Is fast food once a week really fine?
A. Depends what your goals are, your state of health and if there’s any food addictions holding you back. A drinking binge once a week wouldn’t be fine for an alcoholic. If by fast food you mean a Thai curry and vegetables; not bad. But Macca’s and a Magnum …. that’s poison to your delicate cells. You’ll know when you’re really making progress: you won’t even be tempted by junk food. It will turn you right off.
Q. Can low fat foods make you lose weight?
A. Depends on the type of diet a person has come from. Any ‘improvement’ can bring about weightloss, but that same ‘improved plan’ might bring little or no results for the next …. But regarding ‘low-fat’ foods in general, the verdict is final: they’re more likely to contribute to weight gain than loss (NB. Lower the fat and you increase the sugar proportionally). Consider the nation that consumes the most low-fat, no-fat, diet, lite products in the world … the US … how’s it working for them?