5 Foods You Thought Were Unhealthy, But Are They?

food groups, balanced diet

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It seems like there is a new article or report released daily about what foods we should avoid, which can leave many of us feeling pretty confused. Which foods are actually bad and which are good? Over the years, there have been a list of offenders that always seem to make the must-avoid list. But perhaps it’s time to revisit these foods and shine light on the fact that they may not be so bad for you after all. Here are five foods that you should consider re-introducing to your diet.

1. Butter

Although dutifully praised during the Atkins Diet craze, more recently butter has gotten a bad rap for its high fat content. “Fat is very likely the most misunderstood of the macronutrients,” nutritionist Renee Fitton of My Fit Foods told My Domaine. So many of us avoid this kind of fat at all costs. However, “fats are essential to our health. While trans fats can cause serious health damage, other fats, like those found in butter, can be vital to proper nutrition.” Instead of opting for regular butter, Fittton recommends trying grass-fed ghee, clarified butter which is significantly easy to digest as it contains vitamins A,D, E, and K.

2. Whole milk

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The logic follows: Why use whole milk if you can opt for skim or 2%? As counterintuitive as it sounds, high-fat diary — especially milk — may actually help keep you slim. A study that was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care found that middle-aged men who consumed high-fat milk, butter, and cream were less likely to become obese over 12 years, as compared to men who rarely or never ate high-fat diary.

Additionally, another study that appeared in the European Journal of Nutrition found that high-fat dairy foods were linked to a lower risk of obesity. It may just make you feel more satiated in comparison to your low or no-fat milk, which allows you to eat less food overall. Make sure to keep your servings in moderation, and don’t feel guilty about adding whole milk to your morning coffee or cereal instead instead of skim. Your waist will thank you for it.

3. White rice

rice, rice cooker

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White rice gets a bad rap in our whole-wheat-loving American diet. Most fad diets suggest that we steer clear of all foods high in carbohydrates, and white rice is about 90% carbohydrates (with brown rice being 85%) — but it happens to be a good source of magnesium, phosphorous, and iron.

While it’s true that white rice is more processed than brown rice, the white solid rice that is sold in the U.S. is in fact enriched with the nutrients that are lost during its processing, meaning that white rice tends to have more essential nutrients than brown rice due to its fortification. For those who are brown rice devotees, you will be surprised to hear that the darker (bran) layer of brown rice contains phytic acid, which is an antinutrient making minerals such as zinc and iron unabsorbable. Here’s one last shocker: Brown rice contains higher levels of arsenic than white rice.

It’s important to note that some of the healthiest nations, like Japan, eat white rice during most of their meals. Additionally, research suggests that people who eat rice are less likely to be overweight.

4. Beef

beef tenderloin

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If you’re a meat lover, chances are meat happens to also be one of your vices. While dietary consensus seems to agree that red meat, such as beef, is just not good for you, you’ll be very happy to learn that this quintessential protein is healthier than you may have thought it to be.

In fact, moderate amounts of lean beef can actually help you to lose weight, and may even help to improve your overall diet quality, Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RD, told Men’s Fitness. It’s also easy to find leaner cuts at your local supermarket. Just make sure to look for cuts that provide up to 10 grams of total fat and no more than 4.5 grams of saturated fat in a three and a half ounce serving, and cuts that are grass-fed organic. Beef also provides several of the 10 essential vitamins and minerals, which include protein, zinc, iron, and B-vitamins.

5. Canned tuna

Tuna salad

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Canned tuna is cheaper and seemingly more convenient for those of us with busy schedules, so you will be pleasantly surprised to know that despite its bad rap, there is nothing wrong with eating canned tuna. Both canned and fresh tuna have similar amounts of protein, with 16 grams of protein in one 3-ounce serving of light canned tuna, compared to 20 grams in one 3-ounce serving of fresh tuna fillet. Whichever one you decide to choose, also bear in mind that both are chock-full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids that keep your skin and hair looking healthy.

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