Good food vs bad food

Some foods have a spoilt name. Macrobiotic counsellor and chef Shonali Sabherwal gives a clean chit to some but puts a few others in the dock

Myths about some foods are passed around word-ofmouth and become deeply ingrained in our minds. Some of these beliefs can, in fact, backfire, and may prove to be detrimental to our health. Macrobiotic food counselor and chef Shonali Sabherwal challenges some of these misguided ideas.

Myth
Grapes, lime and oranges delay healing post-surgery
Fact
Citric fruits such as the above have Vitamin C, which helps stitches to heal. On the other hand, Carbonic acid, which comes from sodas, colas and carbonated beverages, weakens stitches. Just a word of caution: Citric fruits are not recommended on the very day of the surgery. Especially in case of ENT surgeries, their sharpness may sting when you swallow.

Myth
Drinking coconut water at night causes acidity
Fact
Coconut water cools the system. In fact, it is highly recommended for acidity and can relieve heartburn. It helps restore the stomach's PH balance and makes it more alkaline.

Myth
Lentils and cottage cheese combined make you fat
Fact
Both lentils and cottage cheese are good sources of protein and are recommended for muscle gain and fat loss. For a balanced weight loss plan, 25 per cent of your daily calories should come from concentrated protein sources and this combination would help.

Myth
Chocolates cause acne
Fact
Overdosing on chocolates may cause acne but it is largely the result of bad dietary (read: junk food) habits or hormones.

Myth
Papaya causes miscarriage
Fact
A ripe papaya is not harmful in small amounts. It helps control heartburn and constipation. An unripe papaya does contain a latex substance, which could cause uterine contractions.

Myth
Almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, pistachios and raisins are fattening
Fact
Only if consumed in large quantities. Nuts have good quality fats. Drying fruits does suck out nutrients and they then contain more sugar, calories and carbs per gram than their hydrated counterparts.

Myth
Carbs are bad
Fact
It's the quality of the carbs that holds the key to weight loss. We should stay away from highly refined carbohydrate sources such as white bread, sugar, refined white flour and white rice (simple carbohydrates). However, we need carbohydrates out of whole grain namely brown rice, nachni, millet, jowar and bajra (complex carbohydrates). The body needs glucose for energy. Half your daily requirement of this glucose comes from complex carbohydrates. These give us sustained sugars (good for our brains) and keep insulin levels in check. Balanced efficiently with other foods, they keep our energy levels stable.

Myth
Eating curd at night causes breathlessness
Fact
Curd is cooling and could lead to congestion that could interfere with sleep. Milk and dairy products cause a discharge in the lungs that could lead to breathlessness and chest congestion. According to Ayurveda, curd causes 'ama' the release of certain toxins, which block channels of the body.

Myth
Tomato ketchup is good for the heart
Fact
Lycopene, which comes from tomatoes, helps reduce heart disease. But unless the ketchup is home-made, it will not help the heart. Most tomato ketchups are high on sodium and sugar - both can be damaging for the heart in the long run.

Myth
Fat free food has zero calories
Fact
Packaged foods cannot be zerocalorie. To be labelled fat-free, packaged foods must have 3 grams of fat per serving. These are gimmicks used by manufacturers to sell products. A packaged food may say 'zero calorie' but will have unhealthy trans-fats used for preservation. It may even have a sweetener, which is bad for you.