Even with all the health and nutritional news we go through, these food facts still caught me off-guard! By Yuen Yi Ying
Image: Viktoriia Borysenko/123RF
Surprising Food Fact #1
The Unhealthiest Foods Tend to be Brown
During a photo shoot of Singapore’s tastiest fare – including char kway teow, roti john, curry chicken and mee siam – I noticed that the dishes happened to be roughly the same shade of brown. I knew the dishes weren’t exactly low-cal grub, but the figures were pretty shocking. Just to put things into perspective:
Char Kway Teow (745 calories) = 6.5 scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream (114 calories per scoop)
Roti John (722 calories) = almost 2.5 Cheeseburgers (300 kcals each)
Curry Chicken (967 calories) = almost 5.5 Fried Chicken Wings (180 calories each)
Mee Siam (521 calories) = almost 4 cans of Cola (133 calories per can)
Throw in more amber-hued delights like Chinese Rojak (518 calories) and Chicken Briyani (719 calories), and things do not look good for this particular colour family… Well, it’s something to note the next time I’m deciding what to eat.
Surprising Food Fact #2
Some of the Worst Foods are Disguised as ‘Healthy’ Steamed Dishes
Those soupy steamed xiao long baos you like… each one packs more calories and fat than a piece of fried chicken nugget (69 calories and 3.69g fat per dumpling vs 55 calories and 2.5g of fat per nugget).
Other dim sum favourites like har gow and siew mai are just as bad, or even worse. Each tasty morsel could pack more fat, sodium and cholesterol than greasy, crispy roti pratas!
Surprising Food Fact #3
Fruits, and fruit juices, are super high in sugar
In our conversations, several dietitians and nutritionists warned against overdoing fruit as they contain lots of sugar. Sure, they might have antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, but like everything else, too much can be a bad thing. For example, according to the USDA Nutrient Database, one wedge of watermelon may contain 17.73g of sugar, a medium-sized banana has 14.43g, and one cup of mango has 22.54g of the sweet stuff. Each teaspoon of sugar is 4g, so you can just imagine how much is in that cup of fruit juice you have at lunch.
The recommended daily serving of fruit a day is two pieces, or two cups. It’s best to eat the fruits whole as the fibre keeps you full and prevents sugar spikes, but if you want to have them in juice form, smoothies are better as most of the fibres are still retained.