Not all calories are born equal. Flip over any packet of chips, and you may find that a serving size of your favourite fried snack is equivalent to a healthy sandwich. Does that mean it's okay if you ditch the sandwich for the treat you want to eat? Well, the answer depends on what you want from your food. There are good calories and bad calories. To better illustrate what I mean, I thought I could do a comparison between baked and fried foods and arm you with the information to make your own decision.
Do You Want Satiety?
If you want a feeling of satisfaction, fried foods will never give it to you. What they will give you is flavour, but they will never make you feel full and content. The more you eat, the more you will want to eat and the more you eat, the more calorific a simple snack becomes. Baked foods, on the other hand, provide a greater feeling of satisfaction and flavour, which will make you eat less.
Do You Want Nutrition?
It's no secret that fried foods have a greater presence of trans fats - the most harmful fat in existence because your body finds it extremely difficult to break down. Trans fats are laboratory-made fats that are formed when unsaturated fats undergo a process called hydrogenation. Companies pump snacks with these vicious fats because these increase their shelf lives. Having said that, hydrogenation can also happen when foods are fried in re-used/toxic/unhealthy oils like palm oil, canola oil or hydrogenated vegetable oils. Trans fats are associated with serious diseases and health conditions. Not so with baked snacks as they are well baked.
Do You Want An Active Life?
What fried foods do is that they eventually settle in your stomach, making you feel heavy and full. Frequent consumption of these kinds of foods - like a daily, innocuous samosa with your chai - will not only leave you feeling lethargic in the short-term, but also are guaranteed to make you pile on the weight in the medium/long-term, leaving you heavier and less active than you were. Opting for a handful of baked snacks as an alternative to unhealthy fried food will benefit you in maintaining your weight in the long run - something your body will definitely thank you for.
Do You Want To Spend Hours In Exercising And Dieting?
If you are conscious about maintaining your weight, your daily fried food habit could leave you with more to do to maintain your weight - meaning more exercising, more dieting, and more space that is occupied in your head with those thoughts. The question is, do you have the time?
Junk food has been associated with spiking your blood sugar levels quickly and then sending them crashing back down again, sending your mood down with it. Healthier foods - that are equally affordable like baked snacks - provide a more sustained release of energy, manage blood sugar levels beautifully, and keep your mood even.
Every day is a day to make healthful choices, and every day is a goal towards being the best you can be. The question is, what choice do you want to make?
About the author: Pooja Makhija is a well-known nutritionist, clinical dietitian and author.
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