Eating the healthy way isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. So, in a nutritional food fight, which foods would win? Leading nutritionist Laila Lewis referees and shares her expertise with us.
Although they have a bad rep, frozen veg can contain just as many and sometimes more nutrients than fresh, but this depends on the type of vegetable. Fresh vegetables flown in from across the world have a depleted nutrient content, whereas frozen veg are frozen soon after picking, preserving their nutritional content.
Winner: It’s a draw
Greek vs regular yoghurt
Although Greek yoghurt is higher in fat, it also has around twice as much protein as regular varieties, so it helps you feel fuller for longer. And, because it has half the amount of carbs, it’s a good choice for low-carb dieters. Just make sure there’s no added sugar or sweeteners.
Winner: Greek yoghurt
Pasta made from refined white flour has little nutritional value. Eating too much wheat can leave us bloated and cause digestive problems, too. Rice has none of these effects – and brown rice is an even healthier choice as it has a lower GI and GL index and is more easily digested.
Butter is a natural product, whereas spreads and margarines are highly processed. Some high-fat spreads contain hydrogenated fats that can prove more harmful to our hearts and waistlines than the saturated fat which is found in butter.
Winner: Butter (or choose a low-fat spread like Flora pro.activ)
The higher water content in fresh fruit (most contain more than 80% water) means it’s more filling with fewer kilojoules. Dried fruit is likely to cause spikes and drops in blood sugar, due to its naturally high sugar content, and may contain chemicals, such as sulphur dioxide, which many people are sensitive to.
Winner: Fresh fruit
Milk vs soy milk
We all know milk contains saturated fat, but it also has calcium in it, which is good for your bones. Although soy milk may reduce cholesterol levels, it also contains high levels of phytates, which inhibit the digestive absorption of essential minerals.
Oatcakes have a low glycemic load and can help regulate blood sugar and assist with weight management by keeping you fuller for longer. Rice cakes, in comparison, may only be 129 kJ each (oatcakes are 189 kJ), but they offer little nutritional value.
Cream vs crème fraîche
Crème fraîche isn’t as healthy as you might think: it contains 39% fat compared to 48% in cream. If it’s for pouring, opt for low-fat cream with 18% fat, instead. Be wary of reduced-fat options, however, as these can contain other nasties.
Winner: Cream – but only if it’s low fat!