In the Midst of Food Dilemma!
By Rafiq Ebrahim
Winfield IL 

Decades ago, my grandmother, tempting me to eat eggs, told me that my father used to keep a couple of eggs in his pocket and eat them raw whenever he needed a burst of energy. It was believed universally that eggs provided strength and were an excellent source of food. Later on nutrition experts warned people not to eat raw eggs as generally they had e-coli and other harmful bacteria which could make one sick. You may eat eggs freely if they are properly fried or boiled, killing harmful organisms.

Years later, scientific research showed that you should go easy on eggs, and not eat more than two eggs a week, as eggs increase your cholesterol level and may be a threat to your health.  Now, medical researchers and nutrition experts have announced that eggs are not harmful, and that you can safely eat one egg every day. They say that eggs are full of nutrients – Omega 3, Vitamin E and a good amount of protein. So enjoy eating eggs – till you get any new, adverse information from medical researchers.

According to Samantha Heller, registered dietitian at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, a number of foods considered unhealthy are not really bad for you. People used to dread white potatoes, but now they say you can eat them without fear as they contain Vitamin C, B 6 and fiber if they are not peeled.

Butter is no longer bad for your health, because recent research doubts whether whole saturated fat causes heart ailments. Compared to margarine which contains five times more trans fat, butter is a safe alternative.

Sugar has always been condemned and is considered more harmful than even salt, but experts say that it is necessary for your body if taken in limited quantity, as your body turns it into glucose, an important source of fuel for every cell in your body.

Then there is pizza! My youngest grand son who is eight-year old loves pizza, and if hungry can devour two to three large –size slices. He is now allowed only a slice once in a while by his mother, as she believes it is fattening.  The latest research shows that a pizza slice, if easy on cheese, is good for your health.

Cooking oils were always in the bad books of doctors and nutritionists, till researchers found out healthy ingredients in most oils, like Olive, Canola, Almond and Sesame.

Clarified butter – or ghee as it is called in South Asian countries – was considered a boon since ancient times and believed to have many health benefits. It was considered to be an item of great importance in the kitchen, and quite costly.  Suddenly, a warning was issued by scientific experts that it is very harmful because of its fat contents – whole saturated fats and trans fats - which are detrimental to your cardiovascular health.

Recently, some nutritionists have found healthful benefits in it, and clarified butter is no longer believed to be a killer.

When it comes to eating, be aware that bugs are good for you! No kidding! The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has announced that consuming insects is a good way to boost protein intake! About two billion people around the world already eat bugs regularly.

What next? Sitting at a dining table with a lot of delectable dishes in front of you, you are confused and in the midst of a food dilemma. Is this dish good for my health? Or not?  What’s the latest research?  My advice is that do not be afraid to eat anything in moderate quantity, and don’t worry about the ‘expert opinions’.  Their researches keep on changing.  If we believe everything they say we shall not be able to eat anything freely.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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