Miss noshing on eggs or tucking into a steak? Check out my new story in Women’s Health magazine, New Food Rules: What’s OK to Eat, on stands now:
Heidi’s Klum’s catchphrase—”One day you’re in, and the next day you’re out”—applies as much to food as it does fashion. Over the years, we’ve all had favorite eats hit the healthy-food blacklist, but thankfully, some of them are making a return. In fact, recent research has not only redeemed once-taboo foods such as steak, eggs (yolks included), and peanut butter but also found that when eaten in moderation, some of them may actually help you conquer the scale.
Then: Yolks were considered tiny cholesterol bombs.
Now: Numerous studies, including one in a 2011 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have debunked the link between eggs and heart disease. Although a single yolk contains nearly the recommended daily limit for dietary cholesterol, it is the most nutrient-rich part, packed with zinc, iron, vitamins A and D, and choline, which may help reduce breast-cancer risk. Plus, the yolk contains nearly half of an egg’s hunger-quashing protein, which is why white-only omelets aren’t as satisfying.
“Because you feel full, you’re less likely to overeat later on,” says Nikhil V. Dhurandhar, Ph.D., an associate professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Bring it back: A hardboiled egg makes a great snack with staying power—and has only around 70 calories. Just beware fattening companions that often accompany eggs, such as butter, bacon, and cheese.
Then: Beef had a reputation for contributing to heart disease and wide waistlines.
Now: New research suggests that saturated fat—at least in moderation—may not be the evil heart attacker it’s been made out to be. And today you can buy cuts of meat that are leaner than what was available a decade ago. Red meat is a stellar source of satisfying protein, a known ally in weight management. “It requires more time and energy to digest and can help you gain metabolically active muscle, which burns more calories at rest than fat does,” says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet. Plus, beef—particularly the grass-fed variety—contains high concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is associated with a lower body-fat percentage. Early research indicates that CLA may disrupt enzymes that help deposit and store fat.
Bring it back: The cut of beef is the deciding factor. Extra-lean ones include top sirloin select, sirloin tip, top round, and eye of round roast. They all have fewer than five grams of total fat and two grams of saturated fat per three-ounce serving, but avoid anything labeled prime, which tends to be fatty. Shoot for a three-to four-ounce portion—the size of a BlackBerry—and grill, roast, or bake it (panfrying only soaks it in butter or oil).
And what about peanut butter, bananas and coconut oil? Keep reading…