A look at unhealthy habits

A look at unhealthy habits

White Food

Type the phrase ‘white food’ into the Goggle search bar, and the resulting are shocking. 

Avoid Food white in colour consists of bad carbohydrates which are unhealthy.

Most of them indicate the harmful effects of such foods on one’s health.

A lot of people across the globe are caught up in a quagmire over the consumption of so-called ‘white food’. It’s said that most white food consists of bad carbohydrates, which are unhealthy and the main culprit behind the growing menace of obesity.

Many celebrities, including Cameron Diaz and Oprah Winfrey, have endorsed this view. Some of the studies even say that white food trigger cravings for more carbohydrates. Metrolife speaks to a few experts to find out if these are baseless claims, or whether such fears are actually reasonable.

 White food generally refers to foods that are white because they have been processed and refined, like flour, rice, pasta, bread, crackers, cereal, and simple sugars like table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Natural, unprocessed white foods, such as onion, cauliflower, turnip, white beans, and white potatoes don’t fall into the same category. 

The difference between refined white foods and their healthier counterparts is in terms of processing and fibre.  Most white carbohydrates start with flour, that has been ground and stripped of its outer later — which is where fibre is located.

Vitamins and minerals are frequently added to the refined product to enrich it.
Dr Mona Goel, a nutritionist and diabetes specialist at the Delhi Diabetes Research Centre, calls all the refined or processed food unhealthy and claims they can lead to cardio-vascular problems.

“All processed or refined food is unhealthy and the main culprit behind the growing menace of cardiovascular health issues,” she explains. Dr Goel  adds, “The white colour is due to refinement. It’s less fibrous food.” However, she’s quick to admit that there is no such research proving that all the white food is unhealthy.

The need to avoid refined carbohydrates came into the limelight when low-carb diets like Atkins and Sugar Busters became popular. It’s further believed that people who eat too many refined carbs face the risk of obesity and diabetes.

Ankita Gupta, a nutritionist, explains, ‘All carbohydrates are not evil, but processed, manipulated, bleached carbs are.” She adds that excessive processing strips food of its essential nutrients. “Processing strips food of fibre, and more importantly their vitamins and minerals. It also bleaches their colour,” she says.

While clearing the air about the myth surrounding natural white food, Ankita adds, “The myth that a lot of people fall for is that milk and milk products, onions, cauliflower, potatoes and bananas also come under the category of white foods — and that they pose similar health issues. But it’s important to remember that natural, unprocessed white foods have their fibre and other nutrients intact, making them ‘good carbs’.”