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The Washington Post has a column by Katherine Tallmadge, author and registered dietician, in which she talks about seven foods often described as bad for you that actually have health benefits...

• Gluten and wheat, she writes, "such as whole wheat, rye and barley, are vital for good health, and are associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and excess weight."

• Eggs may not be as big a cholesterol problem as previously believed, she writes. Besides, "some of the biggest egg eaters in the world, the Japanese, have low cholesterol and heart disease rates, in part because they eat a diet low in saturated fat. In contrast, Americans eat eggs alongside sausage, bacon, and buttered toast."

• "Potatoes have been blamed for increasing blood glucose levels, insulin resistance, excess weight and Type 2 diabetes." But, Tallmadge writes, they also "are a great source of potassium, Vitamin C and fiber that many cultures — Scandinavians, Russians, Irish, and Peruvians — relied on as a nutritious staple for centuries. And they were not fat."

• "People often ask me if fruit is too high in sugar, especially for diabetics. This fear of fruit, I believe, is left over from the Atkins craze, which discouraged eating some fruits on the grounds that they are high in carbohydrates. Avoiding fruit could actually damage your health. Study after study over many decades shows that eating fruit can reduce the risk of some cancers, heart disease, blood pressure and diabetes. Fruit is high in water and fiber, which help you feel full with fewer calories, one reason why eating it is correlated with lower body weight. Even though they contain simple sugars, most fruits have a relatively low glycemic index. That is, when you eat fruit, your blood sugar raises only moderately, especially when compared with refined sugar or flour products."

• "Soy is sometimes seen as dangerous after studies found elevated rates of breast cancer among rats when they were fed a concentrated soy derivative. But studies looking at whole soy foods in humans have not found a connection. In fact, the reverse may be true."

• "Alcohol is feared because of the potential for abuse and alcoholism and complications such as liver disease, which are valid concerns." But in addition to having demonstrated benefits in preventing heart disease, "wine may have additional benefits because its grapes are filled with nutrients called polyphenols, which reduce blood-clotting, inflammation and oxidation."

• "While it’s true that frying food usually increases its caloric content, that doesn’t necessarily make it unhealthful. As long as food is fried in healthful oil instead of butter, shortening, or trans fat, and it’s eaten in moderation, it isn’t less healthy. In fact, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and heart-healthy, cancer-preventive carotenoids such as beta-carotene (e.g., carrots, sweet potatoes), lycopene (e.g., tomatoes) and lutein/zeaxanthin (deep-green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale), need fat in order to be absorbed by the body."
KC's View:
As one MNB user is fond of writing me whenever these kinds of stories pop up, there are no bad foods. There are just bad diets. It is how we eat things, and the quantity in which we eat them, that create negative effects.