‘Bad’ Foods That Are Really Good

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When a good food goes bad, can it ever make good again? The answer seems to be yes.

Many of our favorite foods that nutrition experts once warned us against eating for the sake of our health are now making a comeback and may deserve a spot at your next meal.

These nutritional underdogs may have gotten a bad rap in the past, but new research shows that they may not be bad for you as once thought. In fact, they may even be better for you than what you’re eating now.

Dark Meat: It’s the New White

White meat chicken breasts and only contain marginally more fat and calories than white meat.

“You’re getting some nutritional pluses with dark meat too,” says registered dietitian Joan Carter, an instructor at the Children’s skin off, where most of the fat in poultry lies.

Carter also says that today’s pork really is the other white meat and has much less fat than in years past.

“Pork tenderloin is now a low-fat meat and should not be vilified as it was at one time,” says Carter.

Lean cuts of beef, such as flank steak, have also become even leaner in recent years, but fatty cuts like rib LDL heart-healthy monounsaturated fats).

Carter says by splurging on flavorful, mild vinegars such as balsamic or sherry vinegar, or adding fresh herbs, you can cut down drastically on the amount of oil needed to make a tasty salad dressing.

Going Nuts Over Peanut Butter

Regardless of how you like it, chunky or smooth, all natural or straight from the plastic jar, researchers say peanut butter is a cheap and healthy source of protein.

Some concerns have been raised in the past that oils added to commercial peanut butters during production process may create unhealthy levels of trans fats. But recent studies have shown that most commercial peanut butters contain negligible levels of these potentially dangerous fats, and commercial and all-natural brands are pretty much equal when it comes to nutrition.

“My feeling as a nutritionist is that the major sources of damaging trans fats in your diet are going to be commercial cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and deep-fried foods, not peanut butter,” says Carter.

Peanut butter is also a high-calorie food, so eating spoon after spoon of it isn’t recommended — two tablespoons is plenty. But nuts and nut butters such as peanut butter are rich sources of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fish and vegetable oils.

They’re also a good source of a variety of nutrients such as cholesterol‘s role in it has changed, so has their opinion of the egg.

“At that time, we thought breakfast for a protein boost, you should cut back on other sources of animal fat, like meat and dairy, later in the day. Or if you have a handful of nuts as a snack to work in a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, you should go easy on the olive oil at dinner.

As Carter says, there are many ways to make healthy food choices and cut unnecessary fat and calories, but it’s not about labeling foods “good” or “bad.” So don’t sweat the small stuff if you want to stick by your butter habit.

“I don’t want anyone to suck joy out of life for nutrition’s sake; it’s got to be a balance,” says Carter.