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Healthy Decadence: Still a Treat

August 14, 2010

Today I was poking around the Discovery Health website and came across a new show called “Healthy Decadence.” With about 40% of Americans suffering from overweight or obese, it’s no wonder that people are looking for ways to cut back on calories without resorting to carrot sticks and bird seed.

The problem with shows (and blogs and magazines, etc) like this is that these recipes are not healthy.

They are simply reduced fat, reduced calorie versions of unhealthy food. Like the banana bread I made a couple of days ago, these recipes should not be the foundation of your diet, but rather an occasional treat.

And it’s crucial for you to use your common sense here. Read the recipe. How much sugar, fat and salt is included? Are the ingredients mostly whole grains, lean protein and fruit/veg? Are there processed foods that might be hiding additional salt and sugar? You have to judge for yourself whether Nan’s Spaghetti & Meatballs and Red Velvet Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting are “healthy” foods.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re going to have frosting, using light cream cheese is the way to go. But no amount of marketing is going to make 2 cups of white flour and 2 cups of sugar good for you.  Sorry 😦

So, I want you to think of the show as “healthIER decadence.” Decadence describes a luxury, an indulgence – not something you have every day. Use these recipes and lower fat substitutions a couple of times a month for a treat, but please don’t think think that low-fat cheese is a magic wand to make Pizza Hut Supreme Pizza a good basis for your diet.

And if you do figure out a way to get all of your nutrients from Philly Cheesesteaks and Double Chocolate Brownies, please let me know.

I’ll make you famous.

How often do you rely on reduced fat/calorie versions of your favorite recipes? How do you define a healthy food?

photo: pizza hut

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