Food & Nutrition

14 “Bad” Foods You Can Stop Demonizing

You eliminated these foods from your diet (or still eat them, with guilt). Here’s why you can stop all that.

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Vegetarian Quinoa bowl. Healthy breakfast or snack with detox quinoa, tomato, cucumber, carrot, pomegranate seeds, juicy blueberries and lettuce in portioned bowls. TopILEISH ANNA/Shutterstock

What we hear about healthy eating and nutrition changes pretty often: first fat is the devil, then it’s not; losing weight is all about cutting calories, then it’s carbs. And sometimes one negative research claim about a food trumps all the positive benefits—giving it an undeserved bum rap. Learn the truth about these misunderstood foods, and why they can retake their rightful place in your diet.

Whole milk

Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, butter, cheese, cream and kefir, view from above, space for a textFatty’s place/shutterstock

This is the milk your momma gave you, and what you stuck with until the whole saturated-fat-causes-heart-disease news happened. Then you switched to the reduced-fat versions or non-dairy alternatives. But here’s the thing: If you can drink cow’s milk, it’s a good source of protein, with 8 grams per cup (plus calcium and vitamin D); in comparison, a cup of rice or almond milk has only 1 gram of protein or less. Whole milk obviously has more fat and calories than skim—”but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” says Alissa Rumsey, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A little fat may help you feel fuller, longer, so you eat less, she explains. Plus, research has also cast some doubt on how harmful saturated fat really is for you. Just stick to a single-cup serving to keep calories in check. And before you toss your carton too soon, we help clear up when milk really expires.


Overhead view of baked whole loaf of bread and wheat stalks on rustic wooden boardstab62/Shutterstock

No, no…not the sliced white kind. That loaf stays on the supermarket shelf. But feel free to reserve a spot in your shopping cart for 100 percent whole-grain breads. Those slices contain the whole grain, and all the nutritional perks that come with it. Refined grains—used to make the white breads—are stripped of the outer bran shell and germ (where most of the vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber occur), leaving only the starchy endosperm center. “Whole grain carbs better regulate blood sugar and are linked to a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers,” says Rumsey. But bread buyer, beware: Some brands will stick “natural,” “whole grain,” or “7 grain” on the package, but are still made mainly with refined grains. To make sure you’re getting the real deal, the first ingredient should be “whole grain flour” or “100% whole wheat flour.” Not that you need more convincing to indulge your carb cravings, but here are more reasons you should eat more bread—guilt-free.

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