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Ten Things

10 Things That Used to Be Bad

By Christine McKinney, Registered Dietitian
Christine McKinney, Registered Dietitian

Keeping pace with the ever-evolving list of foods to avoid is enough to make your head spin. Eggs. Fat. Oil. Bread. Well, the good news is that the prohibition on many of these has been removed. If you’re tired of eating only egg whites or avoiding popcorn, rejoice. “You don’t need to anymore!” says Johns Hopkins dietitian Christine McKinney. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans may surprise you: There are no recommended cholesterol limits, for example, as the focus has shifted to limiting saturated fat to help control cholesterol. And speaking of fat, it’s no longer strictly banned. “Healthy fat helps you feel more satisfied after a meal, and that may lead to eating less and possibly weight loss,” McKinney says. Now just because some foods are no longer forbidden, it doesn’t mean you can indulge in excess. Remember serving sizes. “Nut butters, for example, are a nutrient-dense food, so the recommended portion is only two tablespoons,” McKinney says.

1 / Eggs

One egg has about 200 mg of cholesterol in the yolk, but research shows that dietary cholesterol doesn’t equal serum cholesterol.

2 / Popcorn

Popcorn is a whole grain that contains fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants.

3 / Fat

Forget that low-fat diet! The 2015 guidelines removed limits on overall fat intake, recommending you avoid trans fats and keep saturated fats to less than 10% of daily calorie intake.

4 / Coffee

Coffee has antioxidants linked to decreased risk of diabetes, heart failure, and Parkinson’s. Drink less than 400 mg/day (One cup is about 100 mg).

5 / Virgin coconut oil

Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids that burn easily instead of becoming stored fat.

6 / Soy

Men can’t eat it. All soy is GMO. These are myths. Soy can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease.

7 / Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate has flavanol, linked to improved circulation and memory and lower blood pressure. Look for at least 70% cocoa.

8 / Grains

Grains have a bad reputation, but whole grains contain fiber associated with a decreased risk for heart disease and diabetes.

9 / Nut and seed butters

Don’t sweat the calories and fat in nut butters. They provide protein, fiber, and healthy fat. Stick to serving sizes.

10 / Potatoes

Potatoes are a source of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber—especially when the skin is eaten. Try sweet, red, or purple potatoes.

Illustration of foods
Image above by Anne Smith; Portrait by Tina Berning

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