questionable topic – uneasy matters since 2008

Genius Junk Food: 6 Snacks That Are Actually Good For You (by Men’s Health)

Posted in alcohol, amazing, consumerism, food, health, opinions by questionabletopic on Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Did you know there are more than 15 types of saturated fat?

And despite the fact that they’ve been damned as a whole by nutrition experts for decades, some of them are actually heart healthy. That’s good news, since high-fat foods are often the tastiest.

But a bad reputation is hard to shake. And though saturated fat is the most obvious example of a bad food gone good, it’s not the only one. I’ve run the numbers and scoured the research to determine which vilified foods have been unjustly convicted. The result: six snacks and drinks that deserve an immediate pardon.

PORK RINDS

WHY YOU THINK THEY’RE BAD: These puffy snacks are literally cut from pigskin. Then they’re deep-fried.

WHY THEY’RE NOT: A 1-ounce serving contains zero carbohydrates, 17 grams (g) of protein,
and 9 g fat. That’s nine times the protein and less fat than you’ll find in a serving of carb-packed potato chips. Even better, 43 percent of a pork rind’s fat is unsaturated, and most of that is oleic acid–the same healthy fat found in olive oil. Another 13 percent of its fat content is stearic acid, a type of saturated fat that’s considered harmless, because it doesn’t raise cholesterol levels.

EAT THIS: J&J Critters Microwave Pork Rinds ($6.50 for a 10-ounce container; www.microwaveporkrinds.com). Because the rinds are cooked and puffed in a microwave instead of deep-fried, each serving contains only 4 g fat–meaning they’re lower in calories and less greasy than regular pork rinds.

ALCOHOL

WHY YOU THINK IT’S BAD: It has little nutritional value and is the reason we need the term “beer belly.”

WHY IT’S NOT: In a study of more than 18,000 men, Harvard scientists discovered that those who had an average of two drinks every day, 5 to 7 days a week, had the lowest risk of heart attack. And researchers at the University of Buffalo found that men who consume that same daily amount have lower levels of abdominal fat than those who drink only once or twice every 2 weeks but down more than four drinks each time.

DRINK THIS: Pinot noir. It contains more disease-fighting antioxidants than any other type of alcoholic beverage. Look for a Santa Barbara County pinot noir that’s a 2002 to 2004 vintage; those are generally recognized as the top wine-producing years for this finicky grape. We like the 2003 Foley, best in show at the San Francisco International Wine Festival (foleywines.com).

(more…)