GALLERY: From Bad To Good

12 ‘Bad’ Foods That Are Now Good

© Provided by Eat This, Not That!

By Olivia Tarantino & The Editors of Eat This, Not That!

Once someone has been seen in a negative light, people will rarely change their opinion—no matter how strong the rebranding effort may be. (Sorry Bieber, your music might be good now, but we don’t know if we can forgive you for that egging incident.)

And the reputations of foods are no different. Once something has been dubbed an “unhealthy” or “fattening” choice, many health-minded folks won’t think twice before leaving it in the dust. But not all foods deserve their bad reputations! (Or their good ones, for that matter—health halos, we’re looking at you.) With nutrition research emerging every day, there are a number of nutrient-packed eats that scientists are now finding won’t pack on the pounds, or contribute to a slew of health issues like we once thought.

In fact, a number of foods that we’ve been told are “bad” can actually help the scale tip in your favor. Not only that, but they offer many protective health benefits that can help ward off the very disease they were initially connected to. Learn the truth about these misunderstood foods below, and cross them off your “do not eat” list.

<p><strong>Out with the old:</strong> All fat makes you fat. <strong>In with the new:</strong> The <a href="http://www.eatthis.com/healthy-fats">right kinds of fats</a> help increase satiety, maximize your metabolism, protect against heart disease, speed nutrients through your body, and improve your fat-soluble vitamin uptake.</p><p>You thought people who eat fat are fat? Well, no, not necessarily. Our bodies need dietary fat (which is why many fats are called "essential") in order to lose weight and function properly. And the right kinds of fats do wonders for weight loss and nutrient intake. Not to mention, most of the minimally processed, high-fat foods also come packaged with many important micronutrients, from vitamins and minerals to free-radical fighting antioxidants to help you stay fit and trim. You won't get that with sugar-laden, low-fat, <a href="http://www.eatthis.com/ultra-processed-food-swaps">ultra-processed</a> junk. Case-in-point: many studies have found that when people reduce how much fat they eat, they typically replace it with sugar or carbohydrates, both of which can have disastrous effects on insulin and diabetes risk.</p>

1. Everything With Fat

Out with the old: All fat makes you fat. In with the new: The right kinds of fats help increase satiety, maximize your metabolism, protect against heart disease, speed nutrients through your body, and improve your fat-soluble vitamin uptake.

You thought people who eat fat are fat? Well, no, not necessarily. Our bodies need dietary fat (which is why many fats are called “essential”) in order to lose weight and function properly. And the right kinds of fats do wonders for weight loss and nutrient intake. Not to mention, most of the minimally processed, high-fat foods also come packaged with many important micronutrients, from vitamins and minerals to free-radical fighting antioxidants to help you stay fit and trim. You won’t get that with sugar-laden, low-fat, ultra-processed junk. Case-in-point: many studies have found that when people reduce how much fat they eat, they typically replace it with sugar or carbohydrates, both of which can have disastrous effects on insulin and diabetes risk.

<p><strong>Out with the old:</strong> Egg yolks are high in cholesterol, which means eating them will raise your cholesterol levels, putting you at risk for heart disease. <strong>In with the new:</strong> New research has found that cholesterol levels in our bodies are impacted by the types of fats in our food, not as much from the dietary cholesterol content.</p><p>When it comes to eggs, it seems we've been given scrambled messages. Many of us opt for egg whites over whole eggs because word on the street is that the yellow contains too much cholesterol and raises the risk of heart disease, which scientists now know isn't really the case. In fact, <a href="http://www.eatthis.com/healthy-egg-recipes">eating the whole egg</a> can help keep you slim. The yolk contains a nutrient called choline that boosts metabolism and turns off belly fat genes. Not to mention, yolks contain nutrients that may help lower the risk of heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, folate and riboflavin.</p>

2. Eggs

Out with the old: Egg yolks are high in cholesterol, which means eating them will raise your cholesterol levels, putting you at risk for heart disease. In with the new: New research has found that cholesterol levels in our bodies are impacted by the types of fats in our food, not as much from the dietary cholesterol content.

When it comes to eggs, it seems we’ve been given scrambled messages. Many of us opt for egg whites over whole eggs because word on the street is that the yellow contains too much cholesterol and raises the risk of heart disease, which scientists now know isn’t really the case. In fact, eating the whole egg can help keep you slim. The yolk contains a nutrient called choline that boosts metabolism and turns off belly fat genes. Not to mention, yolks contain nutrients that may help lower the risk of heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, folate and riboflavin.

<p><strong>Out with the old:</strong> For years the belief was that butter is a dietary bad guy because of its high saturated fat content. <strong>In with the new:</strong> Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life says that "we now know that the fat in butter is not linked to <a href="http://www.eatthis.com/foods-that-cause-heart-disease">heart disease</a>."</p><p>Butter and other high-fat dairy products are nothing to fear. In fact, real butter—particularly grass-fed—is an excellent source of fatty acids that can support weight loss. Though most people don't know it, grass-fed butter carries many health benefits. "I consume grass-fed butter every day because I consider it a health food," says Bjork. She continues, "It's an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, and it helps slow down the absorption of sugar and carbohydrates, leading to consistent energy levels and improved brain function." By picking up a grass-fed butter, you're getting an excellent source of cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (<a href="http://www.eatthis.com/eat-this-not-that-abs">CLA</a>) and butyric acid, which can help dieters by improving the function of mitochondria—the "batteries" in your cells that essentially keep you young. Just be sure to avoid lower-calorie margarine and butter "spreads" that are made of artificial trans fat—they've been directly linked to weight gain and gut fat.</p>

3. Butter

Out with the old: For years the belief was that butter is a dietary bad guy because of its high saturated fat content. In with the new: Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life says that “we now know that the fat in butter is not linked to heart disease.”

Butter and other high-fat dairy products are nothing to fear. In fact, real butter—particularly grass-fed—is an excellent source of fatty acids that can support weight loss. Though most people don’t know it, grass-fed butter carries many health benefits. “I consume grass-fed butter every day because I consider it a health food,” says Bjork. She continues, “It’s an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, and it helps slow down the absorption of sugar and carbohydrates, leading to consistent energy levels and improved brain function.” By picking up a grass-fed butter, you’re getting an excellent source of cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and butyric acid, which can help dieters by improving the function of mitochondria—the “batteries” in your cells that essentially keep you young. Just be sure to avoid lower-calorie margarine and butter “spreads” that are made of artificial trans fat—they’ve been directly linked to weight gain and gut fat.

<p><strong>Out with the old:</strong> Nuts are high in saturated fat, which could lead to an increased risk of heart disease, so you shouldn't eat them often. <strong>In with the new:</strong> Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, and founder of Manhattan-based private practice, The NY Nutrition Group says, "While nuts and seeds do contain some saturated fats, they're also chock full of nutrients from heart-healthy fiber, MUFAS (mono-unsaturated fats), omega-3s, bone-building magnesium, calcium and energizing iron." </p><p>Unfortunately, this old wisdom is still interfering with our healthy choices now. For example, <a href="http://www.eatthis.com/kind-bars">KIND</a> recently came under fire for making the claim that its snack bars are "healthy." And even though they're made with whole nuts, fruits, whole grains, and ingredients you can pronounce, the FDA standards prevent fatty foods like almonds, coconut, and sunflower seeds from being branded as "healthy" because these foods contain more than 1 gram of saturated fat. (For some perspective, this same criterion would allow a non-fat pudding to be considered "healthy." That's some outdated thinking if you ask us.) Many studies have linked consumption of nuts to lower rates of heart disease (yes, even in lieu of their saturated fat content!), type 2 diabetes and total mortality, but because they're high in calories, just be sure to <a href="http://www.eatthis.com/healthy-foods-in-moderation">eat them in moderation</a>.</p>

4. Nuts

Out with the old: Nuts are high in saturated fat, which could lead to an increased risk of heart disease, so you shouldn’t eat them often. In with the new: Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, and founder of Manhattan-based private practice, The NY Nutrition Group says, “While nuts and seeds do contain some saturated fats, they’re also chock full of nutrients from heart-healthy fiber, MUFAS (mono-unsaturated fats), omega-3s, bone-building magnesium, calcium and energizing iron.”

Unfortunately, this old wisdom is still interfering with our healthy choices now. For example, KIND recently came under fire for making the claim that its snack bars are “healthy.” And even though they’re made with whole nuts, fruits, whole grains, and ingredients you can pronounce, the FDA standards prevent fatty foods like almonds, coconut, and sunflower seeds from being branded as “healthy” because these foods contain more than 1 gram of saturated fat. (For some perspective, this same criterion would allow a non-fat pudding to be considered “healthy.” That’s some outdated thinking if you ask us.) Many studies have linked consumption of nuts to lower rates of heart disease (yes, even in lieu of their saturated fat content!), type 2 diabetes and total mortality, but because they’re high in calories, just be sure to eat them in moderation.

<p><strong>Out with the old:</strong> Bacon is full of bad saturated fats, plus I hear it can give you cancer! <strong>In with the new:</strong> The right kind of bacon that has been prepared properly can be a part of a healthy diet.</p><p>Thanks to the Paleo trend, bacon became more popular than ever. Then the World Health Organization claimed bacon (and other processed meats) can give you cancer. And everyone went back to hating it again. But if we take a closer look at the reason why these meats can give you cancer, we see we can still eat them. Many processed meats are preserved with sodium nitrites, and under conditions of high heat (like grilling or frying) or even just stomach acid, sodium nitrite reacts with amines to form cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines. Luckily, many companies are now making bacon cured without sodium nitrites now—just plain old sodium—meaning they're safer than traditional cuts. Plus, pork bacon can even relay health benefits since pork is a great source of protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAS). Just bear in mind that serving size matters, so don't pig out. A few slices are all you need.</p>

5. Bacon

Out with the old: Bacon is full of bad saturated fats, plus I hear it can give you cancer! In with the new: The right kind of bacon that has been prepared properly can be a part of a healthy diet.

Thanks to the Paleo trend, bacon became more popular than ever. Then the World Health Organization claimed bacon (and other processed meats) can give you cancer. And everyone went back to hating it again. But if we take a closer look at the reason why these meats can give you cancer, we see we can still eat them. Many processed meats are preserved with sodium nitrites, and under conditions of high heat (like grilling or frying) or even just stomach acid, sodium nitrite reacts with amines to form cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines. Luckily, many companies are now making bacon cured without sodium nitrites now—just plain old sodium—meaning they’re safer than traditional cuts. Plus, pork bacon can even relay health benefits since pork is a great source of protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAS). Just bear in mind that serving size matters, so don’t pig out. A few slices are all you need.

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