5 out of touch health tips your mum told you (PLUS the truth!)

By Alexandra McCarthy |

I Quit Sugar: 5 out of touch health tips your mum told you (PLUS the truth!)

Raise your hand if you grew up using skim milk in your morning cereal?

Don’t worry, we did too! Many of our mums thought that margarine and skim milk were staples of a healthy diet, but little did they know the nasty ingredients hiding in these products! Here, we debunk some of the myths we all thought were healthy – back in the day…

1. Skim milk is better for you than full-fat.

Thanks to the demonisation of fat, skim and low-fat milk quickly became the crème de la crème in many households. Who remembers chowing down on cereal that was swimming in watery milk? Yeah, it wasn’t great… The truth is, skim milk is much sweeter than full-fat – due to the lack of fat (which is where the flavour comes from!) and the increased natural lactose content (something has to go up if the fat comes down). When you consume milk with the fat removed, you’re also consuming a more processed product which won’t leave you feeling satiated after drinking. Plus, your body won’t be able to effectively absorb any of the fat-soluble vitamins within the milk with the fat removed!  While many of our mothers probably preferred skim milk for its low-fat health claims, research has now proven that full-fat milk doesn’t make you fat! So, if you (or your parents!) are still drinking skim, make the switch to full-fat!

2. Margarine is “healthy”.

Another “low-fat” product that managed to sneak its way into our diet is margarine. Marg is made from a concoction of vegetable oils, chemicals and trans fats – not exactly healthy! This highly processed yellow spread has also been linked to heart disease, which is ironic considering it continues to be marketed as a healthy food useful in disease prevention. Now, we opt for butter instead as it’s completely natural – made from churned cream (or milk) and usually, a touch of salt.

3. You should choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate.

Now, it’s no secret we love to chow down on 90 per cent cacao dark chocolate, but the dark choccy we’re referring to here is the popular Old Gold variety – which was a hit with many of our parents. The issue with this variety is that its sugar content is not that different to its milk chocolate counterpart. If you were to eat a 25g serve of Old Gold, you’d be consuming 12.9g of sugar – that’s over three teaspoons of the sweet stuff. In comparison, a 25g serve of Dairy Milk chocolate provides 14.4 grams of sugar – that’s a difference of only 1.5 grams. Compare this to a 20g serve of Lindt’s 90 per cent dark chocolate however, which comes in at just 1.3 grams of sugar. So, while mum and dad might be noshing on dark choccy thinking it’s “healthier”, it’s important to pay attention to the sugar content on the back!

4. Packet gravy is delicious.

Growing up, there was rarely a roast dinner eaten without the accompaniment of packet gravy – you know, the dried powdery stuff that you add to boiling water to make instant gravy?!  While it’s convenient, the ingredients leave a lot to be desired. These powdered gravies often contain a lengthy list of ingredients, ranging from vegetable oils to thickeners and emulsifiers. Next time you whip up a roast, simply use the pan juices as your gravy. Not only are they delicious, but you can rest assured that they’re crap-free!

5. Instant mash potato is just as good as the real stuff.

When mashed potato seemed too hard to make, many of our parents resorted to the convenience of instant mash from a packet. Unsurprisingly, the ingredients aren’t great for you either – containing additives and preservatives as well as skim milk and sunflower oil. And, let’s be honest, it wasn’t tasty either.

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