Unhealthy, Healthy Food

I apologize for the tongue twister as the description of this article. Perhaps, it is apt because the topic often ends up confusing people. After all, what does unhealthy, healthy food mean? I was delivering a lecture recently. A young boy, perhaps no more than eight years old came up to me after the talk and asked me if drinking juice was healthy. If you are a parent, you would surely agree that you would be in heaven if your child drank juice. More often than not, it is a battle to make them eat anything but ice cream and chocolate. Juice? Sure, I will take that any day. However, we are not making the argument about something that is healthier than a worse alternative, are we?

Many foods end up masquerading as healthy. When you juice fruit, depending on the way you did it, you ended up leaving most of the fiber out. Also, often the vitamin and other nutrients may be destroyed in the process. It is far healthier to eat the raw fruit. Similarly, frozen yogurt is another seemingly healthy food. It beats having ice cream loaded with saturated fats or even made from hydrogenated oils. However, depending on what else you put into the frozen yogurt, it can quickly turn into a sugar fest making it extremely unhealthy.

Many biscuits are sold as the “healthy alternative.” Without understanding the ingredients and determining whether they indeed do not contain harmful fats, excessive salt or sugar or other chemicals, it is foolhardy to rely on the self-certification of the producer. Dressings are another trap. You believe that since you are eating it with salad, it must be healthy. You need to examine the contents of the dressing to understand the sugar and salt content and also the other chemicals or additives it may contain. In the end, it is your health. A little extra precaution can never hurt.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.