1. Fat-free foods: No fat means no flavour. How can that be palatable? Well, any commercial product of this nature has to come with plenty of sugar, sodium and artificial flavours.
2. Salads: Salads are quite unpalatable unless they are “dressed” with lots of high calorie additives. Oil is an essential component of any diet dressing and this has been known for centuries and low-calorie dressings may seem to be good for your health but they can be pretty hard on the gut. Those who have been having their salads without dressing will know.
3. Energy bars: Some may be healthier than others in terms of fibre and sugar content but the consumer need to understand that many outdoor buffs consume them as temporary meal replacements when cooking is not convenient. Make no mistake, they are high in calories.
4. Smoothies: Like flavoured yoghurt, most smoothie places use frozen yoghurt as a base and then add additional sugar, colouring and even flavours. Chocolate toppings won’t help in the weight management department.
5. Breakfast cereals: This is pretty boring stuff actually. Some breakfast cereals are encrusted with sugar and honey to make them more palatable to the kids. There are also unflavoured cereals. These are truly healthy but they compromise on taste.
6. Artificial sweeteners: Many people are allergic to them. They can cause stomach upset, diarrhoea and bloating. Some studies on artificial sweeteners have shown that they may be cancer-causing.
7. Energy drinks: These are loaded with sugar. Taking it before strenuous exercise actually gives you a very good initial boost, but it doesn’t improve your stamina one bit. In fact, for some folks, it burns you out very fast and is fattening to boot.
8. Frozen foods: Despite all the assurances, ready-to-eat meals that are stored frozen and simply require a couple of minutes of reheating in the microwave are questionable. To make them thaw easily, manufacturers have introduced trans fats. The flat taste is boosted with lots of sodium and even artificial flavours. Fresh is best.
9. Flavoured yoghurt: These are merely pureed fruit with loaded with sugar to make it more palatable. Nothing wrong with the sugar, but eat enough of it and it turns into fat. Marketing strategies try to position tubs of flavoured yoghurt as heath food. Plain yoghurt is generally healthy but not flavoured yoghurt.
10. Ketchup: Tomato ketchup contains healthy tomatoes but it contains a lot of salt and has also been found to contain high amounts of high fructose corn syrup. It’s useful as a condiment but should not be taken in excess because of apparent “health benefits”.
© Chan Joon Yee