We put staple foods and their ‘healthy’ alternatives to the test — here are our winners

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MAKING the right choices can be a headache, so we’ve compared the nutrition of some of our faves.

But which is better? There’s only one way to find out…

MUESLI V GRANOLA

The winner: muesli

 The two look similar but mind the sugar content in granola The two look similar but mind the sugar content in granola

“Granola looks similar to muesli, but the sugar content can be jaw-dropping,” says nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert.

Not all muesli is created equal, though.

“Avoid products with massive chunks of dried fruit to reduce sugar, and stick to brands made with a whole rolled-oat base, not wheat flakes.”

TOP TIP Look for a no-added-sugar version – some have 24% less than the standard.

TAP WATER V COCONUT WATER

The winner: tap

 Water is on tap, so are the benefits from it Water is on tap, so are the benefits from it  If you're an athlete, you might need coconut water If you're an athlete, you might need coconut water

For most of us, plain water is enough for hydration – the exception is athletes.

“If you’re sweating a lot and you need to replenish your electrolyte levels fast, coconut water would help,” says Rhiannon.

“But some coconut brands add sugar, and therefore calories, so there are no extra benefits,”

TOP TIP Not a fan of tap water? Try ZeroWater filters, which remove chemicals like lead that can affect the taste.

Jugs cost from £24.99, cartridges from £19.99.

OLIVE OIL V 1 CAL SPRAY

The winner: olive oil

 Olive oil is far less processed and overall better for your heart Olive oil is far less processed and overall better for your heart  Do you know what goes into making a low-cal spray? Do you know what goes into making a low-cal spray?

“Most low-cal sprays are made from oil, water, flavourings, emulsifiers and thickeners,” explains nutritionist Kim Pearson.

“You’re much better off choosing natural extra-virgin olive oil.

“Not only is it far less processed, it’s also an anti-inflammatory and a rich source of antioxidants, making it good for heart health.”

TOP TIP Moderate how much oil you use by decanting it into your own spray bottle, Kim suggests.

SOYA MILK V NUT MILK

The winner: nut milk

 We love Plenish nut milks - made from almonds, filtered water and salt We love Plenish nut milks – made from almonds, filtered water and salt  Soy beans contain a number of naturally occurring toxins Soy beans contain a number of naturally occurring toxins

“Soy beans contain a number of naturally occurring toxins – some of these are removed in fermented soya products like miso, but not in soya milk,” says Kim.

“Nut milks can be a great option, although they vary in terms of the quantity of nuts used.

“Generally the higher the percentage, the less likely it is the milk will contain flavourings and other added ingredients.”

TOP TIP We love Plenish nut milks, which are made only from almonds, filtered water and a tiny bit of salt!

ORANGES V BLOOD ORANGES

The winner: blood oranges

 Blood oranges are more Instagrammable - in a way, what makes them so is why they win Blood oranges are more Instagrammable – in a way, what makes them so is why they win  But they're in season only from January to May, so regular oranges will do But they're in season only from January to May, so regular oranges will do

The more Instagrammable red oranges accumulate plant pigments called anthocyanins.

“Studies show high levels of these antioxidants in blood orange juice can limit weight gain on a high-fat diet,” says biologist Cathie Martin.

“They’re only in season January to May, so eat them while you can!

TOP TIP ”Pop your blood oranges in the fridge for a few days to increase the anthocyanins,” says Cathie.

PEANUT BUTTER V ALMOND BUTTER

The winner: almond

 It's official, almond butter is best with more iron and vitamin E It's official, almond butter is best with more iron and vitamin E  Though most of us have a soft - or crunchy - spot for peanut butter Though most of us have a soft – or crunchy – spot for peanut butter

“Almond butter has the edge here with seven times more calcium than peanut butter, plus twice as much iron and three times the amount of vitamin E,” says Rhiannon.

“But they both contain healthy doses of potassium, zinc and biotin, or vitamin B7, which supports hair growth,” she adds.

TOP TIP “Both options are high in calories, so consider your portion size, sticking to around a tablespoon,” Rhiannon advises.

BUTTER v PLANT SPREAD

The winner: butter

 Butter is a great source of vitamins A, D and E - but be mindful of the portions Butter is a great source of vitamins A, D and E – but be mindful of the portions

Recent research suggests butter is not as bad for us as previously thought and replacing it with vegetable oils doesn’t reduce the risk of heart disease.

“Butter is a great source of vitamins A, D and E, whereas other spreads have to be fortified,” says Rhiannon.

“But be mindful of portion size.”

TOP TIP “Some spreads contain cholesterol-reducing plant sterols, but you can get these from a diet that includes healthy fats from pulses and avocados,” says Rhiannon.

WRAP V BREAD

The winner: bread (but it has to be wholemeal)

 Bread has been wrongly demonised and it must stop right now Bread has been wrongly demonised and it must stop right now  Did you know wraps can be much higher in fat than your average white sliced? Did you know wraps can be much higher in fat than your average white sliced?

Thanks to added oils, wraps can be much higher in fat than your average white sliced, as well as containing more salt.

“Bread has been wrongly demonised because too many of us have been eating white rather than wholemeal, which contains fibre,” says Rhiannon.

TOP TIP “Other than usually being gluten-free, there’s no health benefit to sourdough bread either,” says Rhiannon.

“Instead, look for wholegrain or rye varieties.”

And when it really doesn’t matter…

TRADITIONAL BROCCOLI V TENDERSTEM

 

 How you cook broccoli is more important than the variety How you cook broccoli is more important than the variety

All broccoli contains similar nutrients, as well as fibre and vitamins C and K – how you cook it is more important.

“Boiling causes a lot of nutrient loss compared to steaming or baking,” says Rhiannon.

  • Topics
  • Food
  • Health

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