Friday, August 19, 2011

Muesli not necessarily a "healthy" choice

Before tucking into your morning muesli be warned, you may be about to eat more fat than there is in a McDonald's Double Quarter Pounder, Choice says.

The consumer organisation tested 159 types of muesli and discovered that the popular breakfast meal isn't necessarily a healthy choice.

"Whilst much of the fat content in muesli is the 'good' unsaturated type, coming from oats, seeds and nuts, the high fat varieties can still pack a high number of kilojoules," Choice spokeswoman Ingrid Just said today.

One brand, The Muesli, contains twice as much fat as a McDonald's Double Quarter Pounder, Choice said. And two gluten-free varieties - Sunsol Gluten Free and Nu-Vit Low Fat Fruity Muesli Gluten Free - contain a whooping 43 per cent of sugar, seven per cent more than Coco Pops. "If you are eating muesli to try and lose weight then the overall fat and sugar content needs to be taken into consideration," Ms Just said.

Choice has called for traffic light colour labelling on all mueslis that make nutrition or health claims, which would rate fat, fibre, energy and sugar content.

Choice found almost three quarters of muesli products contain at least one health claim. "The most common are gluten-free and wheat-free claims or relate to fibre and or wholegrain content," the report says. "But low in salt, no added sugar, high protein, low GI and low fat claims are also popular."

The problem, the report says, is that nutrition claims don't tell the whole story. "Morpeth Sourdough Muesli Delux says it has 'no added sugar' but its dried fruit content and added honey result in a product that's almost 28 per cent sugar," Ms Just said.

When out shopping, Choice suggests you check the nutritional information panel and the ingredients list for added sugars such as honey or glucose.


Cheese: "Bad for the Environment"

EVERYTHING is bad for the environment

It’s not news: We need to eat less meat. Producing meat ready for the plate takes large amounts of fuel, fertilizers, pesticides, and water. Eating meat can also put your health at risk and endanger animal welfare. That’s why what you eat matters, says the [crooked] Environmental Working Group, which recently released a “Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change and Health.”

But even vegetarians may be hard pressed by the group’s findings. As it turns out, public enemy number three, right after lamb and beef, is cheese.

EWG partnered with CleanMetrics, an environmental analysis firm, to examine 20 types of meat, fish, dairy, and vegetable proteins and evaluate their impacts on the earth. Together, they looked into fertilizers, pesticides, feed, transportation costs, and how much of the final product was ultimately thrown away, including many more factors.

They found that different foods impact the environment in different ways, and to lessen our footprints on the earth, we need to change our eating habits.

Beef, which ranked second for harmful impact on the earth, emits almost four times as much carbon dioxide than chicken and 13 times more than vegetable proteins, such as lentils, beans, and tofu.

What’s surprising is that chicken, salmon, and even pork made out better than cheese. Cheese wound up high on the list because it takes a lot milk to make a little cheese. Dairy cows release large amounts of methane, which is a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and let’s not forget the amount of feed and antibiotics that the cows need.

EWG recommends eating less cheese. But it just so happens that cheese is delicious. So, while you may not be able to go without, eat lower-fat cheeses, such as skim mozzarella, gouda, and cottage cheese, which have less effect on the environment and your health.

As another consolation, the ranking is based on the ounce. While big burgers and steaks are typical meal options, it’s rare that someone sits down to eat a wheel of cheese. Most people use it sparingly anyway, though we can still choose local cheeses rather than those flown over from Europe to minimize costs.


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