“Tell me about the chicken cutlets” I said as I reviewed a client’s food journal. “Those were healthy I used panko”. Now panko may be delicious, creating a crispy crust on food, but it’s not particularly healthy. Panko originated in Japan and comes from the Portuguese work pao (bread) with the Japanese suffix ko (flour or crumb). Panko are breadcrumbs. They have virtually no fiber, calories similar to other store-bought breadcrumbs with slightly lower sodium than a seasoned breadcrumb. Some brands of panko have trans fats although Edwards and Sons organic panko does not. For better “breading” use oatmeal pulsed in food processor. High fiber cereal or whole grain bread are other options. Panko is exotic sounding and therefore, I guess, seemingly better than breadcrumbs but it’s just ground crust less white bread, sorry.
Other foods people cling to from diets of yesteryear. It amazes me when clients come in and report eating Special K cereal. I’m not a huge fan of cold cereal but you lost me on Special K. Maybe it’s that I like food to taste good or taste like something. Side by side if you compare 1 cup of Special K cereal and white bread they look very similar. A little over 100 calories, some salt and no fiber. You may say 100 calories is “good”; I say 100 empty calories is a waste.
Then there’s the very popular Arnold Sandwich Thins. The label for their 100% whole-wheat flavor boasts “excellent source of fiber”. Here are the (unappetizing) ingredients
WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, WATER, YEAST, SUGAR, WHEAT GLUTEN, CELLULOSE FIBER, POLYDEXTROSE, SALT, SOYBEAN AND/OR CANOLA OIL, PRESERVATIVES (CALCIUM PROPIONATE, SORBIC ACID), GUAR GUM, MONOGLYCERIDES, CITRIC ACID, STEVIA EXTRACT (A NATURAL SWEETENER), SOY LECITHIN.
Yes whole wheat flour is the first ingredient and that there are 5g of fiber listed per “thin”. Have a look at the bolded ingredients. Both are added fibers used to make food products appear healthier. In Canada, these added fibers aren’t allowed to be counted in the fiber content. (and hockey is much more exciting that baseball just saying). If a product is really “whole” you don’t need to add fillers and good bread doesn’t need anything other than the first three ingredients above and salt.
I don’t eat wheat but if I were to have “white” bread I’d want a crusty baguette, maybe some challah or focaccia with rosemary. You can have your “thins”, “Special” food and fancy breadcrumbs…but I wouldn’t suggest it.
Did you previously think panko, Special K or sandwich thins were healthy? What do you use for breadcrumbs? What are other food examples of wolves in sheep’s clothing? Isn’t it better when wolves are just wolves?