Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert, who specialises in weight-loss and sports nutrition, gives you the low-down on fad foods that deserve to fall out of favour. First up…
According to Lambert the recent date love-in is getting out of hand. “If you eat three dates a day, your sugar intake is already high – never mind adding handfuls to your ‘healthy’ trail mix. When used as a natural sweetener, the ratio of beneficial fibre to fructose sugars is laughable.”
2. Rice Milk
High in starch, one cup of rice milk has 33g of carbs – three times the amount in regular milk. Meanwhile, 20mg of calcium per serve equates to just 1 per cent of your RDI.
Controversial? “Okay, you can’t argue with its ridiculous vitamin A, B6, C and K content,” Lambert admits. “But the prevalence of an indigestible sugar called raffinose can cause bloating, and the leaves goitrogens can disrupt iodine uptake in the thyroid, leading to fatigue and weight gain.”
4. Coconut Oil
Recent research from the American Heart Association put sat-fat-drenched coconut oil in the same bracket as beef fat when it comes to cooking oils. Per gram, extra-virgin olive oil is far less calorific and boasts more ‘good fats’.
5. Goji Berries
There’s no hard evidence goji berries boost immune system and brain activity, protect against heart disease and cancer, or increase lifespan. Our advice? Stick to a range of fruit and veg rather than shelling out for gojis.
Low in kJ they may be, but with less than five per cent of your RDI of potassium, magnesium and vit C, they’re a bit of a time-waster. Opt for spinach instead.
Fans boast of serious health properties but hard research is limited. In terms of dietary antioxidants, Lambert says, “you’d be better off with blueberries”. And you don’t have to go to Brazil to find those.
8. Dried Apricots
“Most dried fruits contain up to three-times as much sugar as fresh fruit,” says Lambert. “And because they’re smaller, you’ll eat five instead of one. Also, their orange colour is the result of added sulphur dioxide, which can lead to acute reactions in asthma sufferers.”
9. Almond Milk
“Many – though not all – almond milks are highly sweetened and have minimum natural nutritional value. In fact, they won’t give you many benefits unless they’re fortified,” says Lambert. For dairy alternatives, soy is a better source of calcium and protein.”
10. Protein Balls
“If you make these yourself and limit the sugar, they can be a balanced snack pre- or post-workout,” says Lambert. “However, many of the ready-made versions are rolling in syrup and not a lot of protein. Aim for less than 5g of sugar per 100g. Or just eat a meal.”