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Popcorn

The film fan’s best friend has had a revamp lately and it’s looking good

Popcorn


Air popped popcorn is probably the lowest calorie snack you can eat which still looks and feels like you are eating a respectable amounts of food. A large bag may contain 120 calories, with the same sized bag of crisps totalling double that or more.

The nutrient profile is hardly world beating, with a little bit of fibre and protein, but the main benefit here comes simply down to dietary adherence, portion control and calorie restriction.

Popcorn has a really neutral taste compared to crisps or crackers and as such can be flavoured sweet, savoury and even spicy to suit any cravings. It’s easy to transport and feels like a ‘cheat’ or ‘indulgence’ but you’re consuming about the same amount of calories as 1/3 of a chocolate bar which usually fills the same kind of gap.

It’s not a nutrient powerhouse, but it’s fairly neutral, and the improved ability to stick to your diet is a MASSIVE boost all by itself.

Cheese

Cheese is one of those things which can be your best friend or worst enemy depending on how well you can judge and control portions. A typical portion of cheese is about 30-40g and will provide 120-160 calories or so, not that much, but that same piece of cheese has a ton of benefits.

It’s rich in calcium and B Vitamins which help energy production, the taste and creamy texture makes it incredibly filling for such a small amount of food, and there’s one other secret which doesn’t’ appear on the label – it’s covered in bugs (if you get a good, proper, artisanal one).

‘Real’ cheese is covered in tiny microbes which live on the surface and in the little crevices of a good cheese. It’s these microbes which turn the milk into this form in the first place and it’s the same microbes which give each cheese such a distinct smell.

Cheese

Disgusting Fact

The microbes which make some smelly cheeses which often are described as smelling like feet, give the cheese this smell because they are THE SAME microbes which often live in between your toes. It’s not that the cheese smells like feet, it’s that you are eating the same aroma-emitting bacteria as you have in your socks. The more you know…

These microbes are crucial for a huge variety of aspects of your health, and there is a very strong suspicion that the reason the French (who eat over 1000 varieties of cheese nationwide and average around 180g per day each) live longer and healthier lives than we Brits or the Americans do, despite eating more saturated fat, exercising less, smoking more and drinking all of the time is because of the health-boosting effects of these microbes.

It’s a young body of research which is only emerging of late, but it’s an interesting one, and whether it’s the cheese bugs that are responsible for the long lives of the French or not, we cannot say.

What we DO know, though, is that some of the microbes which live on cheese can be transferred to your gut to join the trillions of microbes living there already, and the ones which we can pick up are almost certainly beneficial.

Think of your cheese on toast as a kind of tasty probiotic.

Baked Beans

Last up is the British favourite: The humble baked bean.

Baked Bean


The UK is the world’s largest consumer of baked beans by a significant margin, going through almost 800 million tins per year (second place Australia eat around 60 million… that’s a big gap and this shows no sign of slowing – which may not be a bad thing).

A large tin of Baked Beans provides 350 calories which is relatively low compared to the amount of food volume there, but as we know it’s not just about calories. That same tin gives you just under 40g of complex carbohydrates which are vital for sports performance and optimal day-to-day function alike.

On top of that they will give you 20g of protein. This protein isn’t ‘complete’ meaning that it must be combined with other foods to create a perfect amino acid profile for absorption, but thankfully there is one food perfect for the job with a profile so well matched you could have almost designed it – bread.

Yep, you heard me, beans on toast gives you a complete source of dietary protein, ideal for building muscle mass (and with those carbs, an ideal pre or post workout, no?).

And as for the sugar? A can will give you 20g of sugar which is not insignificant, but the protein content along with the massive 15g of fibre (over half of most people’s daily needs) more than offsets this as it will radically slow absorption into the blood and the subsequent liver strain or blood glucose increases.

Do you get all of these benefits from a tin of kidney beans without the extra sugar? Yeah sure, but they are a lot less appetising on a fry up and good luck getting a child to eat a plain tin of kidney beans on toast.

Octobers Best Offer

 

Jamie Lloyd

 

About Ben

Ben Coomber is a performance nutritionist (BSc, ISSN), educator, speaker and writer.

Ben run’s Body Type Nutrition, an online nutrition coaching company that also runs a multi-level, online nutrition course, the BTN Academy. Ben has the UK’s #1 rated health and fitness podcast on iTunes ‘Ben Coomber Radio’ with regular Q&A’s and expert interviews. Ben also owns Awesome Supplements, a brand offering clarity in the confusing world of supplements. Connect with Ben over on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram.

For everything else visit: http://www.bencoomber.com

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