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I see the term "free food" throughout my Healthy Cooking magazine and wonder what it means. Obviously, for calorie-free beverages, I understand it. But it's also included on asparagus and veggies with salsa, and those DO have calories. Can someone please explain?
Cagurl - I don't wanna screw this answer up so I've emailed Peggy Woodward from Healthy Cooking. Check back for her answer!
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I could be wrong, but I believe the "free food" term refers to the Comfort Food Diet. "Free Foods" are healthy, lo-cal foods that you can eat all that you want and not count them towards the diet. I think the salsa is a "free food" if it is eaten in prescribed amounts. I would have to refer to either the comfort food diet link here at the Taste of Home website or one of the Comfort Food Diet books for specifics. I do remember that there are a large number of vegetables that are "free foods"--though not all vegetables.
I'll have to load up on asparagus! And any other veggie that's free, too!
If only chocolate, chips & wine could snuck onto that list
The term 'free food' is from the diabetic exchange system, which categorizes foods by the amount of carbohydrates in them. Not all people with diabetes use this system in meal planning, but some do so we provide the information in addition to the nutrition facts. A 'free food' in this system is one that has less than 20 calories per serving and 5 grams carbs.
Peggy Woodward, RD
Peggy, I am so glad you chimed in with the answer.... I kept hoping it would mean that I could eat anything as long as I didn't pay for it (just kidding.). I like things like celery, which takes more calories to chew and digest than you can derive from eating it. To me, that is "free food."
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Beema I like things like celery, which takes more calories to chew and digest than you can derive from eating it.
Beema as much as I wish it were true, that's a myth.
Old wives tales caught up with me once again. I stand corrected, and I am glad - I did some research to find out what the basis for that myty might have been and I found this information: "Celery's solid water eradicating capabilities will enjusre that any unwanted fluid is taken away, out of your body system helping you drop extra pounds and assist in managing arthritis and high blood pressure."
Concerning the "Free Foods" term, apparently there are more meanings to that than meets the eye. My newspaper today had at article from the Chicago Tribune that defines "free foods" as being those that are either free of dairy or lactose, free of gluten, free of sugar or free of fat. But the article advises caution in making assumptions about these free foods. "A fat-free cookie, for example, is mostly refined grains and sugar and offers no nutrition. On the other hand, an avocado is full of fat and much is healthier than a fat-free energy bar. And a sugar free product can nevertheless contain troubling ingredients such as genetically modified corn by-products, artificial dyes and artificial sweeteners. The path toward health is paved with real, whole foods, not artifically produced goods free of a particular nutrient."
So, I am guessing that the term Free Foods will be defined more by the context within which it is used. It is good to know what it means in relation to the Healthy Cooking recipes.
Well the Chicago Tribune article is all about making informed choices when dealing with foods that are chemically altered to change their nutritional punch. Sugar substitutes, lower fat and fat substitutes, wheat substitutes - all come with a price of some sort - usually in flavor and texture. To make up for that substitution, other things are added to make up for the loss and create a palatable product.
Cagurl is asking about a totally different term and what it means in Healthy Cooking. Free Food is actually really common through-out weight-loss plans, but it shouldn't be confused with "Fat Free" or "Sugar Free" - that's not to say those products can't be the same on occasion, but they're not interchangable.
I'm not sure what you're saying about celery - it sounds like maybe you're referring to it as a diuretic? Celery seed has been used for centuries in herbal practices for all sorts of things, including as a diuretic but I'm not sure the vegetable has the same properties. Here's an article from the University of Maryland.
When you're researching anything, especially things like this pertaining to nutrition and herbs - watch your sources carefully. There's so much misinformation out there by people selling snake oil remedies that it's easy to become misinformed.
Sue, this is what is so good about these discussions. We learn, we share and we become more astute.
Yes, the Chicago article was about making choices, but I mentioned that article for the simple reason that the term "free foods" has been used in many contexts, not just the one found in Healthy Cooking. And, just as you pointed out, there is a lot of misinformation where ever we look. So, it is prudent to know the source of the terms and not assume that all are universal.
And, you are absolutely correct about watching the sources of informaion - I wouldn't have thought of "snake oil remedies," but it is a good example of the incorrect information that abounds in today's world.
More often than not, I consult with the nutritionist at the University of Florida, not someone associated with any commercial ventures or products. A similar person can usually be found within the County government where you live, in the Agricultural Extension Office.
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