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Healthy eating for dummies: 10 buzzwords to learn now

Healthy eating for dummies: 10 buzzwords to learn now

Do you speak paleo?

Text: Janice Sim

Uncovering the real identities of conspicuous words like sugar-free and kombucha

Every field has their jargons. Some of which, we have no business learning about; while others, pose a great deal of importance. Especially when it concerns cultivating a healthy lifestyle.

You might have, on a number of occasions, found yourself at a restaurant or a grocery store staring blankly at a certain confumbling term (whether it be on the menu or a product label). Does this mean I should order it? Is this going to be good for me? The answer might actually surprise you.  

So, to save you from yet another embarrassing episode of pretending to understand your friends when they utter the word, "kombucha", here's a nifty list of 10 health-related buzzwords and what they exactly mean. In other words, this is your cheatsheet to eating better.

1. Paleo diet

So your best friend is going paleo again... now it's time to finally understand what she is allowed to eat. Basically, having a paleo diet just means consuming foods that are as close to the ground as possible. We're talking foods like meat, fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs, nuts, seafood. Nothing processed like cereals, brown rice, pasta, and chips can be eaten. This is why they call it the 'caveman diet' — going back to foods that didn't exist in the time that cavemen did. Its benefits include eating foods that are free of preservatives, additives and chemicals. More importantly, it also leads to weight loss and better metabolism, as found in a study done by BioMed Central

Paleo diet healthy buzzwords

2. Gluten-free

This can come as a surprise, but some of us still don't fully understand the meaning of gluten-free. Gluten stands for the storage proteins found in certain cereal grains. These proteins help foods like bread and pasta maintain their light, fluffy shape. People without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity wouldn't have to opt for gluten-free products. However, abiding by a GF free diet, also means cutting out processed white, refined breads — leading to weight loss in the long run. 

3. Kombucha

Also known as the 'it' drink that's on everyone's lips. Kombucha is a traditional fermented drink made of black tea and sugar. During the fermentation process, sugar is turned into beneficial probiotics and acids. The drink is lower in calories (with only 30 calories per cup), than any other carbonated beverages — for instance, a can of Coke or 7 Up. 

4. Bulletproof

Bulletproof isn't so much a brand than it is a method of drinking coffee. The idea was coined by Founder and CEO, Dave Asprey — who popularised the idea of adding unsalted butter or coconut oil into your cup of coffee. Doing so keeps hunger at bay, staves off cravings, stabilises blood sugar, and even helps to slow the release of caffeine into your body so you get a slow and steady stream of energy. However, the method itself is still full of fat, with each cup holding up to 400 calories. Not exactly a trick for weight loss. 

Healthy buzzwords coffee

5. Grass-fed

The beef that you usually consume are from cows that typically go through an unhealthy grain-based diet of corn and soy. When you see a term that says grass-fed beef, it means the cows only eat grass. Cuts from these cows, are usually leaner and contain lesser calories than normal beef. According to the Nutrition Journal, they are also said to contain higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. 

Healthy buzzwords grass-fed

6. Keto diet

It sounds really fancy and obscure, but it is actually really simple. A keto diet simply translates into a low carb diet. Typically on a normal diet where we consume more carbohydrates, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis — where fat is broken down into ketones in the liver to be used as energy. According to Harvard Health Publishing, those who lived by it have experienced weight loss results. 

7.  Multigrain

Here's a shocking truth: there's nothing healthy about multigrain foods. The term just means that there are different types of grains present — which could mean those of the refined variety like corn and wheat flour. At times, producers also add dyes to make the product look more brown and 'healthy' for consumption. 

Healthy buzzwords multigrain

8. Wholegrain

This is the grain term to pick up on. Grains that are refined lose their husk and outer layers, which are rich in nutrients as well as B vitamins and fibre. Whole grains mean that they come complete with the important layers. But do make sure that your product says "100% whole grain", as those that simply indicate "made with whole-grain", could also mean that plenty of white flour is still present. 

9. Kefir

Kefir water is another emerging beverage that the health cognescenti are advocating. The benefits lie in its probiotic bacteria that helps to relieve IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Those that prefer dairy can also try kefir milk which boasts a higher intake of calcium and protein, alongside its probiotic properties. 

10. Sugar-free

Never assume sugar-free products equate to a free pass to indulge in sweet treats; but in fact, it just means that the product does not contain refined cane sugar. Instead, they could contain a string of other sweeteners like brown rice syrup, artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. 

Healthy buzzwords sugar-free

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