Pooja Makhija, a nutritionist answers some health related questions...
When cola companies claim 'Diet' and 'Lite', what do they mean? Are these really low in calories? And are they safe for consumption on a regular and daily basis?
Conventional aerated drinks are sugar-laden carbonated beverages. Their 'diet' counterparts are the carbonated waters without the 'empty sugar calories' rest of the remaining ingredients being the same. Yes, diet colas are low in calories (because the chief contributor sugar is missing). But they are not a dieter's dream! They may not have as many calories but do have artificial sweetener aspartame as the main sweetening agent. Aspartame have long list of harmful effects. Enamel erosion, bone loss, kidney damage, weight gain, frequent headaches, brain cell damage being the feared ones. I wouldn't consider diet sodas 'safe' for daily consumption.
Health shops are selling palm jaggery, which they advertise as the safer alternative to sugar. Is this so? Can palm jaggery be substituted everywhere for sugar?
Palm jaggery is collected as sap from date palm trees. It's a natural sugar substitute, with a lot of health benefits. It has natural cleansing properties that aid digestion and help remove toxins from the body relieving constipation. Jaggery is used as home remedy to help alleviate dry cold coughs, hiccups, migraines and more. Because of its mineral content, it also helps reduce water retention, bloating and lower blood pressure. It can replace sugar in most Indian recipes. Although jaggery has many medicinal properties versus refined white sugar, it does have the same number of calories (source parent is same) thus for those on weight loss programs, keeping consumption to a minimal should be considered.
Pre-packaged salads with short shelf lives are being sold in departmental stores. Are these safe to consume?
With the much created awareness about importance of fresh fruits and vegetables, but always falling short in time to procure them; prepackaged salads and salad bars are mushrooming all over. Remember that fresh produce always has a short shelf life, thus the best before date must be carefully observed before purchasing these items. In the quest to gain healthy fibre rich snacks, we should not contract unhealthy bacteria laden diseases. The salad should be ideally packaged and refrigerated immediately after cutting vegetables and must be consumed within a day for best nutrient availability.
Is it harmful to have the yolk of egg? If I mix one yolk with the whites of five eggs in my breakfast omelets, would that be okay or am I still asking for cholesterol problems?
No, consuming the yolk is not totally harmful, especially if not eaten daily. Yes, the yolk contains most of the fat (99 per cent) of the egg, but it also contains a chunk of the nutrients, including 90 per cent of the calcium, iron, Vitamin B6 + B12, zinc, and folate content. Majority of the protein (100 per cent complete in all essential amino acids) content is in the egg white, and since it has just 1 per cent of the fat; it contributes very little calories to the daily intake. Thus egg whites can be had in multiple numbers daily.