According to the Bottom Line Personal, we hear conflicting information all the time about foods and health. So how do you know what to believe?
Here’s the verdict on some common foods, courtesy of Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.
- Fish: We’ve told you before that fish is a great source of protein and healthy omega 3 fatty acids. But you still have to be careful. Because of water pollution and some fish-farming techniques, fish can contain methyl-mercury and PCBs. These are chemicals that, when consumed in high amounts, can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, headaches and severe development problems in children. So, if you’re going to eat fish, make sure you limit your intake of large predatory fish – such as shark, swordfish and albacore tuna - to no more than twice a week. They’re more likely to contain these chemicals. Also, choose wild fish over farm-raised ones - especially salmon.
- Coffee: It’s full of caffeine and millions of people drink it by the gallon every day. That can’t be good, right? According to Nestle, there’s little evidence that coffee is harmful in any way. In fact, it contains antioxidants that are actually good for us! But here’s the catch: don’t load it with sugar, milk or cream. A 16-ounce caramel mocha from Starbucks has a whopping 370 calories and 11 grams of fat. That’s a lot for a beverage, since you’re probably drinking it WITH your morning meal. And that mocha alone is about one-fifth the TOTAL calories you should have in a day.
- And one last food that gets both a good and bad rap: Eggs. Yes, they’re high in cholesterol. But Nestle says when eaten in limited quantities, they’re good for you. Eggs are relatively low in calories and are a good source of protein. The American Heart Association says you shouldn’t have more than one egg a day. If you simply MUST have more than one scrambled egg, or an omelet, add just the egg whites to the mix. That’ll help keep your cholesterol in check.