This is official India has hopped on the "health food" bandwagons. Not that it is necessary a bad thing because Indian cooking while delicious is not always healthy, and often involves too much carb and fat and very little vitamins left from overcooking veggies.
But I'm quite concerned with the new health food options : low fat curd, cheese, butter, sweet and low, without added sugar...and olive oil!
Because let's face it, not all of the above are good, take it from a girl that grew up in this fad in Europe.
Low fat, or 0% fat : This is packaged crap if you ask me, first because non-fat dairy just can't be so, milk is made of fat, period, remove the fat and you have blah insipid stuff that no self respected person would put in their mouth. What dairy company do to your non-fat whatever is compensate the lack of taste by adding sugar or sweetener to it. In the end your product is NOT natural anymore, has only 7-10% less calorie than the real thing and you eat more of it, gaining more weight...I hear you about keeping quantities small, but cup of non-fat curd will keep your stomach full for an hour a full fat one for 2-3 hours making it a better snack. And I tried the "healthy" ones. I always topped it with a cracker or a fruit to feel satisfied, never happened with the traditional full fat type. And people feel less "guilty" about eating those low fat stuff and are less careful about how much they snack on, because somehow the label does the psychological work to make you feel less guilty about food........... NOT GOOD. My advice buy the real stuff, you'll eat less of it and will feel satisifed. Apply this to cheese, butter, milk, curd.
Artificial sweeteners : Mother nature created sugar cane, honey and beetroot sugar syrup, but suddenly some well intentionned health freaks decided all this is bad and a flock of scientists came up with "aspartam" "saccharine" and other sweet and low.
Now saccharine has been known to be bad and trigger cancer, so you wont find those, but doesn't mean the others are good, try dropping some of those miracle sweetener in your coffee and see it foam on the surface...would you drink that? The marketing team is the real genius here if you ask me. And this new miracle sugar that for some brand is "Made from sugar, taste like sugar, but has no calories" is added to more and more stuff : sodas, cookies, cakes, chocolate (sensitive topic for the swiss I am). I've not seen a person go thiner by drinking Diet coke, because instead of drinking one regular one concious that it's junk food they drink 3-4 Diet one feeling better about absorbing junk, and feel like it's ok to do so!
But nothing compares in matter of myths to Olive oil. YES OLIVE OIL. I've never heard more non-sense about this oil as in the past 10 years so let me bust a few myths here.
1) Mediteranean cuisine is not using this oil in everything! It's a seasoning oil used to drizzle on salads, pasta, pizza and grilled meat. It is NOT used in the cooking process, why see below.
2) It is not a cooking oil, as all oil, olive oil turn rancid and unhealthy once heated, so forget about the guilt free feeling using olive oil to deep fry potatoes, it's crap. It's as bad as regular oil, and the heat will make even the aroma of it turn rancid so you'll end up with an awful taste, like all aromatic oils, olive oil should be stored away from light and heat, idealy in the fridge to preserve the taste and healthy elements. And no there is no such thing as deep fried mediteranean stuff in olive oil. This is a myth. And it doesn't matter that it's extra virgin or not, those appelation affect the taste, not the heat resistance.
3) Olive oil doesn't make you slim down, it was so trust me there would be some millionaires out there. It's oil, it has calories and should be used sparingly...period. Do not consume twice the amount of it than you would with any other oil just because its said to be healthy. Meaditeraneans are not slimmer and have less heart disease because of olive oil alone. It's rather because they eat less junk, more fresh fruits and veggies and prefer grilled lean meat and fish. It could be any oil, but turns out it's olive oil that brings the most flavour to a dish.
That being said, I refuse to follow one of those big fad, I don't care who is the dietetician who said it should be so, I grew up in Switzerland, which is strongly influenced by French cuisine. This latter is made with real thick creamy full fat sauces, really butter, white bread, "fatty cheeses" real sugar, red wine, buttered coissant, yet it is still the country in Europe that has the less obesity going on. As well as low cardiovascular disease risks, and people have a long life span. Why americans called it the "French Paradox" is beyhond me, because the truth is that there is no paradox at all :
People eat unaltered food, that is rich in all nutrients and therefore fill fuller after a meal, and snack less in between. Quality primes over quantity big time.
I'm an example of it myself : I grew up eating cheese and bread for dinner every day until the age of 24. Ate real icecream, no sweetner, loads of veggie. Here in India I cook with moderates amount of oil, loads of crisp veggies, and kick start my day with a breakfast including 4-5 seving of fruits, curd (full fat), sometimes add eggs to the mix. At 28, my cholesterol levels are all fine, so is the protein level in my blood. My blood sugar is normal, my waist line is 32 inches (doctors say the risk of heart disease for women increase if it's above 35). My BMI is perfect in the average for a healthy person. I walk 30-45 minutes a day, do not feel guilty about eating a bag of chips one night. I never had major weight or health issue in my life. But I heard of people who were doing fine on regular food and decided to go "healthy" with the crap mentionned above and have now problems...so I would recommend anybody to stop worrying about their health uselessly, and go for a check up instead of hoping blindly on that bad wagon. Junk food will always be junk, fat free or not, with or without sugar.
Eat it consciously when you do.