The calcount Team
4 Ways Garlic Benefits Men

4 Ways Garlic Benefits Men (with Infographic)

People have known about the general health benefits of garlic for thousands of years, but did you know that garlic helps men particularly, in specific ways? Read on to find out what we learned when we researched this fascinating topic.

Garlic is in the onion family and has been eaten as a condiment and medicine by humans for thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians believed in garlic’s medicinal properties, as evidenced by the cloves they bricked up in the pyramids. Modern scientific research has supported this ancient and ongoing belief by analysing the chemistry of garlic and its effect on the human body. After decades of study, it seems that we now have a clue as to why so many people swear by it. The main reason for garlic’s health benefits are the same reason that it tastes and smells so very pungent: sulphur compounds.

Garlic’s Special Sulfurous Smell

Garlic is not the only member of the onion family to produce a strong smell, but it is by far the most potent. The distinctive smell is caused by a concentration of about 100 different sulfurous chemicals within its cells, including allicin. Sulphur compounds in rotten eggs and natural hot springs give both their unforgettable smell, just as the sulphur in garlic gives it that special smell. Besides their smell, certain sulphur compounds are well-known for having antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.

It is interesting to think about why any plant would evolve to contain high concentrations of sulphur compounds. When garlic is damaged, a natural defense mechanism acts to quickly produce a group of strong-smelling and “hot” tasting chemicals. These unpleasant (to animals and vampires) chemicals repel the invaders and allow the garlic to continue living and growing. Once released, these unstable chemicals continue to react with the environment and each other until much of their original potency is diminished. That is why freshly crushed or chewed garlic smells much stronger than unbroken bulbs or preserved, processed garlic.

In addition to scaring would-be “predators” with their strong smell, the sulphur compounds kill harmful microorganisms that might otherwise take advantage of the damage to enter exposed cells. These potent defensive chemicals are the secret behind garlic’s beneficial effects, for both men and women, but men especially.

Garlic benefits men infographic
Garlic Benefits Men Infographic

Man’s Libido is Increased with Garlic

The sulphur compounds in garlic have the effect of increasing blood flow and circulation to all body organs. A man’s body typically has a certain organ which depends on rapid and sustained blood flow to perform optimally. The optimal performance of this particular organ has a critical effect on men’s libido and well-being. The sulphur compound chemicals found in garlic, such as allicin, are found to widen blood vessels and enlarge flow volume in response to hormonal activity.



Garlic Benefits Men’s Heart Health

Multiple statistics show than men have a much higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than women. Therefore, it is especially important for men to do everything they can to prevent heart disease. Eating garlic is something men can do to treat almost every aspect of heart health, just read this extract from an excellent review of many different studies related to garlic’s effect on heart health:

“The wealth of scientific literature supports the proposal that garlic consumption have significant effects on lowering blood pressure, prevention of atherosclerosis, reduction of serum cholesterol and triglyceride, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and increasing fibrinolytic activity…”

Leyla Bayan et al.

Basically, the review finds that garlic has a significant positive effect on heart health by lowering blood pressure, softening arteries, reducing harmful cholesterol, and even preventing and breaking up potential blood clots!

Prostate Health is Supported with Garlic

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a common health problem for men that usually occurs with ageing. The prostate is a golf-ball sized gland which encircles the tube through which men urinate. BPH is a condition where the prostate grows bigger and bigger until it squeezes the tube, restricting the flow of urine and pressing against the bladder. According to several studies like this one, garlic has the effect of preventing and reducing BPH. Why and how? It must be something to do with those amazing sulphur compounds!

Garlic Enhances Men’s Body Odor

No, seriously, garlic really does improve the body odour of men, it has been studied! Men who eat garlic regularly are perceived to be more pleasant-smelling by women. Note: this is not the “garlic breath” effect, which is caused when sulphur compounds are processed by the liver and excreted through exhalation and sweat. Instead, it seems that the beneficial health effects of garlic cause “positive signal” chemical cues to appear in the man’s immune system, which are picked up by the olfactory sensors of potential mates. Put simply, men who eat garlic smell healthier than men who do not eat garlic, probably because they are.

Garlic is Food and Medicine

There are 124 calories in 100 grams of garlic, and since each clove usually weighs about 5 grams, the caloric value of garlic as typically eaten is insignificant. Aside from the sulphur compounds, garlic is packed with B vitamins, minerals including selenium, and antioxidants.

Garlic used in combination with ginger produces an unmistakably rich flavour which forms the backbone of many Indian and South-East Asian dishes. Garlic mayo is practically indispensable in many Middle Eastern cuisines.

Chopped parsley can be added to garlic to reduce the strength of “garlic breath”.

To get the most benefit from garlic, chew on a couple of raw cloves every day before breakfast, followed by a glass of warm water.

This probably goes without saying, but whilst garlic benefits men, it also benefits women too!

The calcount Team

Calories in Coffee

When thinking about calories in coffee, the best approach is to accept that coffee is nothing more than a glorified flavouring for your drink. Sure, it is a super flavour, jam-packed with stimulants, vitamins, minerals and a thousand different chemical compounds, but from a food calorie perspective, it is just a flavouring. In other words, coffee itself does not contain any meaningful calories!

Calories in Coffee typically come from Milk and Sugar

Thought of in this way, the real question becomes, how many calories are in the drink to which you are you adding your coffee flavour? Add it to plain water, and you get a zero-calorie Long Black. Add it to a caramel milkshake and you get a 500-calorie Frappuccino. Yes, both of theses drinks are called “coffees” at your local café, but minus the coffee flavour they are completely different.

When making coffee at home, it is common to add about 60ml of full-cream milk and one teaspoon of sugar to a cup of coffee-flavoured water. This converts a zero-calorie coffee and water drink into a 55-calorie coffee, water, milk, and sugar drink. Each teaspoon of sugar adds 16 calories and each 60ml of milk adds about 39 calories.

Wondering what the difference between adding skimmed, lite, soy, and full-cream milk to coffee is? Apart from reduced calories, skimmed milk has the benefit of being low in saturated fat and high in protein. Soy lattes contain about 10% fewer calories than regular lattes.  Check out our milk comparison post for a detailed insight.

comparison of calories in coffee

Calories at the Cafe

Let’s talk about calories in café coffee. Lattes and cappuccinos, flat whites and espressos, life in Australia would not be the same without them. Here, we are talking about the kind of coffee you get by forcing hot water through tightly packed ground coffee beans, rather than the instant powder or drip filter type.



The good news is that coffee made in the espresso style (when water is pressured through a tight crush of ground coffee beans) is much more nutritious than coffee made in other ways. This is because many small bits of the coffee beans make it through the press basket and into the drink.

Those bean bits hold significant amounts of B vitamins and magnesium in addition to the caffeine and other interesting chemical compounds. If you have the choice between espresso style coffee and others, choose espresso for this reason (and the flavour of course!).

What about calories? What is the most, and least, calorific type of espresso coffee? Here’s your list, taken straight from our website, in order of least to most:

Long Black

The Long Black is made by pouring a double shot of espresso over hot water. This is the coffee you choose when you want coffee and nothing else, but you want to sip rather than downing it in a gulp or two. Single shot or double shot, your afternoon pick-me-up will add no calories to your daily intake.

Espresso

The purist’s choice is straight-up coffee with just a few ml of water to qualify it as a drink rather than a food. It is a Long Black without the water. You will add just 2 calories per 100ml to your diet each time you knock back one of these head-ringers. By the way, if you are drinking more than 100ml of espresso at a sitting, perhaps consider Zen meditation practices.

Why does an espresso shot contain calories, whereas a long black with the same amount of espresso does not? Well, in fact the long black does indeed contain calories, but they are diluted by water to the point of negligibility, volume-for-volume.

Macchiato

“Macchiato” means “stained” in Italian, in this case the stain is a spot of foamed milk in your espresso. The idea of the milk stain is to take the edge off the bitterness by adding a touch of sweetness without the use of flavour-killing sugar. Opting for the milk stain will add 11 calories to the espresso to yield a total of 13 calories per 100ml.

The caveat with macchiatos (and every other classic coffee), is that the café that you patronise might have a quite different concept of what a macchiato should be. In some cases, the drop of milk which makes the stain could be more like a scoop from a soup ladle, so beware!

Cappuccino

Did you know that the name “cappuccino” is derived from the name of a brotherhood of catholic monks (the Capuchin friars) in Italy? No, these monks did not reverently brew and perfect coffee in remote mountaintop monasteries, but they did wear brown habits. Their clothing was a type of brown colour, the same as a cappuccino top. Mix espresso, hot milk and steamed frothy milk to make the brown drink known as cappuccino. Cappuccinos contain 52 calories per 100ml.

Latte

Lattes are apparently different from cappuccinos because of the amount of milk foam they contain. Lattes have about 2cm of milk foam on top, compared to about 1.2 cm of milk foam on cappuccinos. That difference translates into a whopping two calorie difference between the two. Lattes contain 54 calories per 100ml.

Flat White

The difference between a latte and a flat white is in the texture of the milk and foam, apparently. That said, we do not have any generally accepted agreement as to what that exact difference is, except to say that it is somehow qualitatively different. Nevertheless, from a calorie perspective there is no difference. Flat whites, like lattes, contain 54 calories per 100ml.

Mocha

The mochaccino is a hot chocolate with a shot of espresso. This is the most calorific of the classic espresso-style coffees. It is made by adding cocoa powder to the Cappuccino formula. Mochas contain 71 calories per 100ml. Add sugar to a mocha for an even bigger calorie blast!

Blended Ice Coffee

Blended ice coffees are basically just coffee-flavoured milkshakes made with a wide range of flavourings and toppings. It is common to find variations on a blend of flavoured ice-cream to which syrups and a shot of espresso are added, topped with whipped cream. These calorie monsters typically contain 96 calories per 100ml. If you are in the habit of thinking of them as coffees, please stop. Drink them as you would a milkshake, very rarely, as an extraordinary treat.

Calories in other Coffee

The above list is made up of just the “classic” espresso-style coffees in their “pure” forms. That means they have no added sugar and are made with regular fat cow’s milk. In practice, just about every café has its own distinctive variation to the formula for the classics, and you can order from a wide range of substitute milks and sweeteners and toppings. This means that your regular Double Skinny Soy Macchiato with organic Hazelnut Syrup has a calorie count far different from the coffees listed here. Always read the calorie or kilojoule label and bear in mind that your individual barista may have a heavy hand with the syrup and cream!

Conclusion

Coffee on its own has negligible calories, but most common coffee drinks are relatively high in calories. The calories in coffee mostly come from added milk, sugar, cream, and other flavourings. When ordering coffee from cafes, be aware that ice-blended coffee beverages contain about twice the calories of regular coffees. Espresso shots, long blacks and macchiatos are low-calorie drinks whereas cappuccinos, lattes and mochaccinos are high calorie.

The calcount Team
full-cream vs lite vs skimmed milk

Full Cream vs. Lite vs. Skimmed Milk

When you are controlling your calories, which is the better choice: full-cream milk, “lite” milk, or skimmed milk? Is it true that reduced-fat milk is just watered-down whole milk? Before you rush in with a quick “Its obvious!” answer, let us take a closer look at these three options…

How do they make reduced fat milk?

In pre-industrial times, skimmed milk was simply whole milk whose cream was removed by skimming off the top after it was left to settle in a pail. We do things a bit differently these days!

To make reduced fat milk, pre-processed whole milk from a blend of different cows is spun around in a specialised centrifuge. The centrifugal force breaks the milk into its separate components of water, fat, carbohydrates, protein, minerals, and vitamins. The manufacturer then reprocesses the separate ingredients in different batches and proportions to make different types of dairy products.

If you have read our post on panela, you will have found out that centrifuges are incredibly useful food-processing machines.

Reduced-fat milk is theoretically just recombined whole milk, without all the fat added back.

Whole milk has a generally accepted fat content of 3.5%, but of course in nature this varies immensely depending on the cow breed, the cow’s diet, the relative water content, and a hundred other input variables. Non-standard inputs are anathema to industry, so manufacturers therefore carefully standardise the fat content of designated full-cream milk at 3.5%.

Fat in Full-Cream, Low-Fat (Lite) and Skimmed Milk

Different countries have various regulations which determine what can and cannot be called “skimmed milk” and “reduced fat milk”. In Australia, milk must have a fat content of less than 0.15% before it can be marketed as Skimmed Milk or “Fat-Free”.

Reduced Fat Milk must have at least 25% less fat than whole milk.

Low-Fat Milk (also marketed as “Lite” or “Light” milk) must have less than 1.5% fat by composition.

milk nutrition comparison
Full-cream milk has way more calories than lite and skimmed milk

There is more Sugar in Skimmed Milk

Back up a little and think about how they make reduced fat milk: the fat is physically taken out. What happens when you take one specific thing out of a mixture? Everything else, including the sugar, becomes relatively more concentrated! It is like simmering sugar water on your stovetop to make syrup.

A typical full-cream milk is 4.7% sugar, whilst a typical skimmed milk is 4.9% sugar, compared to 4.8% for low-fat milk.

This sugar difference (about 4%) has a noticeable effect on the taste of skimmed milk compared to full-cream milk.

In addition to there being more sugar in reduced fat milk, there is also more of everything else (except for fat!) like protein (mainly in casein form), minerals and vitamins.



Full-Cream Milk has way more calories

Full-cream milk has 45% more calories than skimmed milk, as a direct result of there being about 95% more fat in it. Low-fat milk by comparison has about 65% less fat and 30% less calories than full-cream milk.

A single small glass (250ml) of full-cream milk makes up about 8% of a 2,000 calorie daily diet, whereas that same glass of skimmed milk would comprise just 4% of the same diet.

Lots of Saturated Fat in Whole Milk

Everyone has probably heard that saturated fats, as opposed to unsaturated fats, are bad for you if eat too many. Saturated fats have been linked with a broad range of “first-world” health problems like heart disease. The World Health Organisation recommends that less than 10% of total energy intake should come from saturated fats.

Milk fat is typically 60% saturated fat! In a typical full-cream milk product, 2.1 grams of the 3.5grams of fat per 100ml is saturated fat. This means that drinking more than two small glasses of full-cream milk will quickly bring you up to the daily recommended limit. You would need to drink about 45 of the same glasses of skimmed milk to hit that same limit.

There is saturated fat in full-cream, lite, and skimmed milk, but in widely differing quantities.

saturated fat comparison of full-cream and skimmed milk
Drink skimmed milk to avoid saturated fat

Of course, there are always dissenting voices supported by studies like this one which say that the saturated fat in milk has no adverse effect on health. As with many contentions related to health and food, it may be many years before we reach the unassailable truth.

Read the label!

If you are serious about nutrition, it is a good idea to base your milk choice on what you see on the food label. The nature of milk means that there is an enormous amount of variation between types and brands of milk. Manufacturers have a lot of leeway when it comes to what they put in and take out of the product known as milk.

Other than the broad percentage-based government guidelines, reduced-fat milk could be anything from 75% full-cream to 0% full-cream. Lite milk could have as much as 1.5% or as little as 0.15% fat – the difference is a factor of 10!

Conclusion

Finally, a simple conclusion: Skimmed Milk beats Lite Milk beats Full-Cream Milk because less calories, less saturated fats, more nutrients.

Reduced-fat milks do not taste as good as full-cream milk because they have less fat in them, not because they are “watered-down”. You will get excellent nutrition from skimmed milk, don’t worry.

Yes, it was kind of obvious.

Check out this video from Dairy Australia about how milk is manufactured:

The calcount Team
Diet Coke versus Coke No Sugar

Diet Coke vs. Coke No Sugar

Since both Diet Coke and Coke No Sugar are sugar-free and contain less than one calorie, are they really different? Let’s take a closer look at both drinks to find out if so and which one is healthier.

Different Histories

Malcolm Fraser was the Prime Minister in 1982 when Diet Coke was launched. In 2017, Malcolm Turnbull was the Prime Minister when Coke No Sugar was released. Maybe Malcolms are good for low-calorie colas?

Diet Coke replaced the Coca-Cola company’s first-generation diet cola, named Tab. Coke No Sugar replaced Coke Zero in Australia and became Coke Zero Sugar in some other countries (not to be confused with Coke Zero).

coke zero became coke zero sugar
Coke Zero became Coke No Sugar

Diet Coca-Cola was launched hesitantly due to fears that customers would reject anything other than “the real thing” being called Coke. Up until 1982, there had not been another “Coca-Cola” besides the original since 1886. Diet Coke does not taste like regular Coke, but it became massively popular because people began taking calorie control seriously.

Diet Coke’s success led them to launch many other Cokes, like Cherry Coke, Coke Ginger and Coca-Cola With Energy. In 2005, they began to sell Coca-Cola Zero to appeal to people who wanted the regular Coke taste with the Diet Coke calories. They ran into a problem though: many people did not realise that Coke Zero was sugar-free, just like Diet Coke. In response, the company tweaked the recipe again and renamed the product to either Coke No Sugar or Coke Zero Sugar, depending on which market it is sold in.

Ingredients compared

The ingredients in both drinks are remarkably similar. This may come as a surprise to people who have tried both, because the two colas taste quite different. The key flavour differences are a company secret, but we can take a side-by-side look at the published ingredients:

Diet Coke compared to Coke Zero Sugar Coke No Sugar ingredients

The three major ingredient differences are that Diet Coke, compared to Coke No Sugar (or Coke Zero Sugar), has 1) more “Coke Secret Flavour” by volume, 2) a preservative (sodium benzoate), and 3) has citric acid instead of sodium citrate.

Why does Diet Coke need a separate preservative, whereas Coke No Sugar does not? Perhaps this is because the sodium citrate (Food Acid 331) and phosphoric acid (Food Acid 338) are sufficient to do the job, whereas the citric acid (Food Acid 330) and phosphoric acid combination in Diet Coke is not. Phosphoric acid, citric acid, and sodium citrate are all food acids which have a dual function of adding flavour and preserving the drink. Maybe the sodium citrate/phosphoric acid mix just works better?

Diet Coke has about 13mg of caffeine per 100ml, compared to about 10mg in Coke No Sugar.



Calories in Coke No Sugar

When it comes to calories, Coke No Sugar has a slight edge over Diet Coke: 0.33 calories per 100ml compared to 0.35 calories per 100ml. Most of the calories in both drinks probably come from the food acids. Bear in mind that at the level of less than one calorie per 100ml, both drinks may realistically be called zero calorie because the human body is going to draw no usable calories at that dilution.

If Diet Coke has more secret Coca-Cola flavour in it than Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, why does it taste less like classic Coca-Cola? Probably because there are different Coke flavour recipes, and Coke No Sugar’s version hits the mark closer than Diet Coke’s.

In Australia, both Coke No Sugar and Diet Coke are sweetened with Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium. This sweetener blend is different in other countries.

Diet Coke Marketing

The flavour of Coke No Sugar is clearly different from Diet Coke by design. Coke No Sugar was introduced to appeal to the people who wanted a sugar-free Coke but did not want to drink Diet Coke.

The three main reasons for not wanting to drink Diet Coke are that:

1) it does not taste like the original Coke,

2) it has the word “diet” in it, therefore carries a certain social stigma, and

3) it is packaged in light colours and advertised as being “Coke-lite”, lending a certain airiness to the brand.

To overcome these reasons, Coke No Sugar

1) is remarkably close to the original Coke flavour,

2) does not feature the “D” word, and

3) is packaged in dark colours and advertised as being “proper Coke”, lending a certain heaviness/solidity to the brand.

Which is Healthier, Diet Coke or Coke No Sugar?

Diet Coke and Coke No Sugar
Tough choice?

Before answering the question, which is healthier, Diet Coke or Coke Zero Sugar, let us first and foremost acknowledge that neither are healthy! A quick rundown of the reasons why:

Aspartame may be Bad for You

Aspartame is one of the most intensely studied food chemicals in the world. It is a man-made chemical, first coming out of the lab in 1965. It then took over 15 years to gain regulatory approval by the FDA, mainly because many scientists just could not believe that it couldn’t have some sort of harmful effect! One of the biggest concerns was that the molecule in some ways looks like other molecules which cause brain tumours.

If you read the nutrition label of foods which contain aspartame, they will often include the warning “Contains Phenylalanine”. Phenylalanine is a by-product of aspartame and should be avoided by people with Phenylketonuria (PKU), especially pregnant women.

The other sweetener in both drinks, acesulfame potassium, is also 200 times sweeter than sugar and is also the subject of academic debate as to whether it causes cancer.

That said, many studies have shown that aspartame is harmless, even though many scientists today are still studying it closely. The jury is still out!

Carbonated Water might cause hunger

A study in 2017 showed that the carbon dioxide in carbonated water stimulates the release of ghrelin, the so-called “hunger hormone”. If true, this means that fizzy drinks make you want to eat more than you should.

Food Acid might weaken bones and teeth

Phosphoric acid, citric acid and sodium citrate have all been implicated in harmful effects on human teeth and bones. Older women who are at risk of osteoporosis should really avoid eating/drinking too many food acids.

Diet Coke compared to Coke No Sugar, choose which?

A side-by-side comparison of both products leads us to the conclusion that Coke No Sugar is the better choice. Coke No Sugar contains less sodium than Diet Coke (4.2mg/100ml compared to 15mg/100ml). It also contains less caffeine and it does not have any sodium benzoate in it. As a psychological bonus, Coke No Sugar contains fewer calories than Diet Coke.

Finally, it tastes better too!

The calcount Team
cashew chicken dont eat the cashews

Cashew Nuts Nutrition: calories, benefits, disadvantages

They are growing in popularity, so let’s take a closer look at cashew nuts nutrition, calories, health benefits and disadvantages. Are there any general reasons to choose cashews over, say, almonds? Why don’t nutritionists go “nuts” over cashews?

Cashew apples look different

cashew apple and nut on tree
cashew seeds below the apple

Cashew nuts are the seeds of the tropical cashew apple tree, native to South America. The apples, unlike the apples most of us are familiar with, do not have cores with seeds in them. Instead, the seed (cashew, or cashew nut) grows in a tough shell attached to the bottom of the apple! Although flavoursome, The apples don’t usually make it out of their local markets because they bruise and spoil quickly.

cashew apple cut in half
cashew apples have no core

Cashew nuts, on the other hand are exported far and wide. Australia has its own small cashew industry, but most of the cashews in our supermarkets are imported from South America, South East Asia, and Africa.

A hard nut to crack

The cashew seed has a double-layered shell which is extremely hard to open. A nasty mix of several different plant acids lies squeezed between the shell layers, ready to squirt on anyone who unwittingly gives it a crack. This acidic liquid is the same chemical found in poison ivy, so getting the cashew shell juice on your skin is painful and damaging.

The processors first boil and dry the seeds before carefully cracking them open with a hand-operated nutcracker.

Workers use their hands to gently pluck just the kernel of the seed from the meticulously cracked shell to reveal the cashew nut we are familiar with. Thereafter, the nut is usually skinned, roasted, and salted before making its way into a package ready for the supermarket. It is possible to buy unskinned and unsalted cashews, but these are much less tasty and therefore unpopular.

When the product is boiled or steamed most of the caustic juice runs off. Even so, acid burns and chronic skin irritations are a common occupational hazard for the workers who process cashews. There has been growing activism by consumers and the Fair-Trade movement to protect vulnerable workers from exploitative cashew producers.

The next time you see a recipe calling for “raw cashews”, allow yourself a chuckle.

Cashew Nut Nutrition benefits

Cashews are highly nutritious and packed very densely with calories. The popular roasted, salted kind weighs in at an eye-watering  616 calories per 100g! For comparison, something like a bacon burger with cheese has 177 calories per 100g.

The reason for the high calorie count is fat (oil): cashews are half fat, half everything else (carbohydrates, protein, fibre, minerals, vitamins, etc.). This is not surprising because most nuts have a similarly high fat to weight ratio, for example macadamia nuts have 724 calories per 100g and are 75% fat.

Like many of the popular nuts, cashews are high in minerals like zinc, magnesium, and selenium. Magnesium is especially important for body weight control because it is used when the body regulates metabolism and fat deposits. They are also a good source of plant protein, coming in at 17g per 100g. Cashews contain vitamins in abundance, especially vitamin E. Plant fibre holds everything together in a honeycomb nut structure, which helps with good digestion.

Almost as good as carrots

No outline of cashew nuts nutrition would be complete without noting that cashews have excellent stores of carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are a class of organic pigment which give carrots and other orange/yellow vegetables their colour. These wonder chemicals are believed to prevent some cancers and promote eye health as we age.

Cashew Nuts Nutrition Disadvantages

Unfortunately, it cannot be said that cashew nuts stand out from other nuts in terms of micronutrients. They are not particularly healthy when compared to almonds, pecans, walnuts, or pistachios, so there is no reason to choose cashews other than the flavour. Studies like this one show that most other nuts outperform cashews from a nutrition perspective.

cashew nuts nutrition

Super high fat content

The main disadvantage of cashews is the high calorie count, which can punish unsuspecting dieters. Chicken and cashew stir-fry is a popular dish with a deceptively high calorie count, thanks to the cashews. If you are sharing a plate of cashew chicken with someone, we suggest that you focus on the chicken, and let the other person eat the cashews! Remember that cashews like many nuts are very “moreish”, so it is easy to keep eating well after you hit the calorie target.

You will hear people say that the oil/fat in nuts is the good kind, they are right, but it is still oil.

If you eat too many cashew nuts, you will gain weight quickly.

Gassy Nut

Some people are prone to experiencing bloating and gassiness after eating cashews. This is because of the triple-whammy of high fat, high fibre and high tannin content. They just take a long time to be digested, all whilst releasing their tannins. Tannins are antinutrients, you can read about what we think of antinutrients here.

Kidney shaped, kidney beware

Try to avoid cashews if you have kidney stones or a propensity to produce them. This is because cashews have a high mineral (especially phosphorous), and oxalates content. An alternative renal-friendly nut would be macadamias because they have a much lower phosphorous content.

Allergies alert

Whilst the obvious disadvantage of tree nuts like cashews to people with nut allergies need not be mentioned in this article, it is worth pointing out that cashews contain a rather special allergen called anacardic acid (this is a key reason they are cooked during processing). Anacardic acid, also known as urushiol, in even tiny amounts can cause anaphylactic shock in sensitive people.

Storing Cashews

cashew nuts nutrition lipid oxidation rancid
look out for bad cashews

The next time you see cashews in the supermarket, look closer. You might notice that the plastic package feels a bit different to regular bags, and you will often find a little “oxygen absorber” sachet nestled inside. This is because oily nuts like cashews have a chemistry with common plastics: they tend to, kind of, dissolve into each other. Without going too deep into the chemistry, lipid oxidation is a common problem with stored nuts, which combined with free monomers in plastic packaging, can result in unwanted combination reactions.

Storage harms cashew nuts

Unlike many other nuts, cashews are sold skinless and they contain relatively high amounts of plant acids. Without their protective skin, they are exposed directly to packaging plastic and oxygen, so it is no wonder that reactivity is an issue. Storage conditions affect cashew nuts nutrition more than nuts with shells and/or skins.

If you store cashews in a low-grade plastic container for a few weeks or months, you may find that the cashews taste like plastic! (Don’t eat them if they do).

Cashew Nuts Nutrition Conclusion

Nuts in general are nutritious and should be a moderate part of every balanced diet, however, our inescapable conclusion is that you can do better than cashew nuts!

When we compare cashew nuts nutrition to other nuts, we see that they are mediocre to sub-par. They are just as fattening yet less nutritious than alternatives like almonds. Their physical form makes them prone to over-processing and spoilage. Many of the cashew nuts for sale in our stores are harvested and processed in India and Vietnam in ethically questionable conditions.

The calcount Team
is panela healthier than sugar

Is panela healthier than sugar?

It is a flavoursome choice for sweetening anything but is panela healthier than sugar? The answer is yes, but not by much.

To understand why, first we must think about what sugar is. Sugar is the name we give to a family of sweet-tasting chemicals which are extracted from plants like sugar cane, sugar beet, corn, and sugar maple. Examples are sucrose, fructose, and glucose. In pure form, these chemicals form colourless or white crystals when not dissolved in water.

Centrifugal Sugar

In the “olden” days (before the mid-19th century), almost all sugar sold was brown or black because it was not pure. Back then, when people said “sugar”, they meant brown sugar.

The brown/black colour comes from all the non-sugar parts of the plant, combined with sugar to form a sticky, thick syrup called molasses. Molasses has a distinct earthy/burnt/bitter taste which flavours anything it is added to.

Nowadays, we have the technology to separate the sugar from the molasses effectively and efficiently, using a centrifuge. Most of the sugar sold today is refined centrifugal sugar, produced at vast industrial scale.

australian sugar refinery
Australian sugar processing facility

A centrifuge is a machine which spins a pre-processed sugar-molasses solution fast enough so that pure sugar crystals are separated from the molasses. The sugar crystals are collected and further refined to produce common white sugar, a singular product which is sold as 99.5% pure sugar.

This high purity is a big reason for sugar’s bad reputation for being a massive source of “empty calories” because, besides calories, there is practically no other nutritional value. Less-pure brown sugar has more nutritional value because it includes molasses along with the sugar.

Panela is sugar

The word “panela” is simply the name given to the type of sugar made in some parts of South America. In other parts of South America, this same sugar is called rapadura, chancaca, atado dulce, or piloncillo. Panela has been made in the region for about 500 years, and it continues to be made the same way to this day.

Panela processing
Panela processing cane juice

Panela imported from South America is cane sugar (sucrose), just as the normal white and brown sugar grown and sold in Australia is. The key difference between panela and regular sugar (besides the price) comes from the way it is made. Unlike centrifugal sugar, panela is made the pre-19th century way, by simply evaporating the water.

Other so-called non-centrifugal sugars from other parts of the world include jaggery and gur (Asia), papelon (Caribbean), tang (China), and many others. They are basically all the same thing.

Difference between white sugar and brown sugar

If the only difference between white sugar and brown sugar is that brown sugar has more molasses in it, does that mean that panela is simply normal brown sugar? If it is, why would anyone fork out extra money to buy it instead of Aussie brown sugar?

The answer to that question lies in a not-so-secret secret of the sugar industry: brown sugar is normal white sugar, with some molasses splashed onto it. It is far more efficient for the sugar company to make white sugar then add varying amounts of molasses to it in order to arrive at the desired colour and taste combination, rather than make separate batches of less-refined sugar.

Crack a typical brown sugar crystal in half and look closely, you will see that it is white inside!

Unlike typical brown sugar, panela is brown all the way through, so it contains a higher proportion of molasses and tastes much more “molassesy”. Panela is a less-pure sugar than normal brown sugar because it is made the old-fashioned way, without a centrifuge.

So, is Panela healthier than sugar or not?

Panela and other non-centrifugal sugars naturally contain molasses as well as sugar, so by default they are theoretically healthier because molasses contain trace minerals and vitamins whereas sugar is just that: sugar.

Pure molasses itself is high in vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese, and other minerals.

However, from a practical standpoint, there is almost zero nutritional benefit to opting for panela instead of normal white sugar. This is because the actual quantity of molasses you will consume by substituting panela for regular sugar is so small as to be insignificantly beneficial for your health. It differs by brand and even by batch, but the actual molasses content of panela is usually about 5% by volume. Nutritionally, this is an insignificant percentage considering that sugar is not a product that is consumed by the bowlful.

You would need to eat 20 spoons of panela to get the nutrition of one spoon of molasses. One spoon of molasses would provide about one fifteenth of your recommended daily amount of vitamin B6.

The amount of extra minerals and vitamins you get from a teaspoon of panela stirred into your coffee compared to a teaspoon of regular white sugar is so tiny as to be virtually undetectable. If you are eating panela to get the nutritional benefit of molasses, you’re doing it wrong. Just buy a jar of molasses instead.

As you can see from our calorie counter database, there is no meaningful difference in the calorie count of panela and regular sugar. Most types of sugar pack about 385-395 calories per 100 grams, (about 18 calories for a teaspoon) including both centrifugal and non-centrifugal types.

Panela, like white sugar, is “empty calories”.

The difference is taste

When it comes right down to it, the only sensical reason to use panela instead of other sugar is taste. Panela tastes much more interesting than regular sugar because it is thoroughly imbued with molasses.

Not all molasses tastes the same, because not all sugar cane tastes the same just as not all apples taste the same. In the same vein, molasses taste different depending on how they have been made, how long they were boiled for, what temperature they cooled, what water if any was used in the process of evaporating the sugar syrup to make the solid block of panela.

On the other hand, all white cane sugar tastes the same because it is 99+% pure.

panela drinks
Add panela to homemade drinks

Something about the South American cane and their age-old process makes panela tasty. It is so tasty that in South America, people call home-made lemonade “panela water” (aguapanela), probably because the panela flavour dominates the lemon juice.

Beware misleading marketing

Perhaps the key takeaway is that panela tastes better than regular white or brown sugar (assuming you like the taste of molasses), but it is just as lacking in nutrients. Do not fall for the marketing ploy which leads one to believe that panela is healthier than sugar, because it simply isn’t!

The calcount Team
Nutella Ingredients Visualized

Nutella Ingredients demystified

Let’s take a look at Nutella ingredients and discover why this cultural icon is so popular. What is Nutella, exactly?

Calories in Nutella: 533/100g

Nutella is incredibly popular. So popular in fact, that most people think of it as a distinct food type, rather than just another a brand of sandwich spread.

Which of these three sentences are you most likely to overhear in your kitchen:

“What would you like on your toast? We have cheese, peanut butter, jam, ham, and Nutella.”

“Would you like some hazelnut chocolate confection on your toast?”

“Hey kids, I’m making sandwiches. Do you want Kraft, Skippy, Cottees, or Nutella on your toast?”

We don’t really think of Nutella as a brand; instead we see it as its own category of bread spread, like peanut butter, jam, and cheese.

Bread gets spread with Nutella, then there are Nutella shakes, Nutella cookies, Nutella pizzas, Nutella cakes, Nutella ice-creams, Nutella empanadas and a hundred other Nutella-flavoured and Nutella-themed foods and drinks out there. Recipes featuring Nutella are shared far and wide and Nutella is an actual menu item in many cafes and restaurants.

So, why is Nutella so popular? Well, there are several different reasons, but one specific thing about Nutella above all else draws the big crowds: Nutella tastes awesome.

Nutella tastes awesome

Nutella taste

A good and expensive chocolate truffle which has been in your mouth for a few seconds: that is what Nutella tastes like, right off the bat.

The flavour of Nutella is intensely rich butter with deep thin streaks of chocolate and flourishes of hazelnut whorls at the edges.

The initial texture is smooth and clingy, like super-smooth peanut-butter, but that soon changes to melty, runny chocolate as you chew. It is better than chocolate because it is not solid. Many people find it better than peanut butter because it melts faster and smoother. It is better than jam because it is not as sweet and heavy.

Mass-market packaged foods developers know a lot about that pleasure sensation you get from eating something that feels good in your mouth. They call it: Good Mouthfeel. Yup. Nutella has Good Mouthfeel and it tastes great.

Correction: Nutella tastes awesome. It is nutty and chocolatey and creamy and SWEET. It is very sweet. Something that tastes this sweet cannot be an everyday healthy food, can it?

Can it? This brings us to the second-most important reason which explains Nutella’s popularity:

peanut butter

Peanut butter and Nutella

Made from whole peanuts and little else, we all know that peanut butter is a healthy food which can be eaten every day in moderation. Peanuts are complex whole foods which pack a massive nutrition punch. Humans have enjoyed peanuts for as long as history because they are energy-dense with a low glycemic index and more than twenty different vitamins and minerals. Perhaps best of all, they are a great source of plant protein. They even contain anti-oxidants like p-coumaric acid.

Merchandisers do not place Nutella alongside to the squeeze tubes of chocolate ice cream sundae sauce, instead they use the same supermarket aisles as peanut butter. Stored in similar jars, Nutella looks like peanut butter with some cocoa powder blended into it.

The label has pictures of nuts on it, just like most peanut butter labels. Multi-media advertising positions Nutella in the exact same lifestyle category as peanut butter: beautiful children eat breakfast, happy moms make sandwiches, cool café denizens chomp artisan brownies.

The word “Nutella” has a “nut” in it, and many people call it “NUTella” instead of the official “NEWtella” pronunciation. It’s nutty.

Therefore, Nutella must be an everyday healthy food because peanut butter is undoubtedly an everyday healthy food and Nutella is a peanut butter alternative.

Nutella is basically just crushed hazelnuts with a bit of cocoa whipped in, right?

Wrong.

Nutella, the substitute

Crushed hazelnuts make hazelnut butter, just as crushed peanuts make peanut butter.

Nutella is not, and has never been, a hazelnut butter. Instead, Nutella’s story began in the nineteenth-century, with an Italian confectionery bar called Gianduja. During the Napoleonic wars, there was a dire shortage of cocoa in Italy. To get around this problem, local candy-makers swapped cheap local hazelnuts for cocoa powder in their chocolate bars recipes. When the chocolate shortage ended after the war, the market for the cheaper Gianduja remained.

In the early 1950s, the famous Italian baker Ferrero ground up some Gianduja and added oil to it to make a paste. This was a common thing to do with chocolate, so why not Gianduja? This Gianduja paste became what we now know as Nutella.

That’s right, Nutella is a chocolate substitute, not a peanut butter substitute.

Nutella is not a nut butter because it contains less than the legislatively required 90% nuts. Much, much less nuts.

Nutella is not even a chocolate product by law because it contains less than the required 10% cocoa solids.

In the USA, the FDA classifies Nutella as a dessert topping.

dessert topping

So, what exactly is in Nutella?

Nutella Ingredients

Nutella Ingredients

To begin with, it is useful to stop thinking about Nutella as a nut butter and start thinking about it as a chocolate paste.

Unlike sugary pastes, nut butters keep their paste form easily because all you need to do to make a nut butter is grind some nuts up. The ground nuts release natural liquid oils in which their solid particles become suspended in a near perfect natural ratio.

Chocolate pastes traditionally start with pre-processed chocolate, which is a solid made from cocoa seeds which have been dried, roasted, ground, liquefied, distilled, and sugared. Then oil, milk powder, more sugar, emulsifier, and flavouring are added.

You can easily make a make a chocolate paste at home, just grind up your favourite chocolate bar then blend in enough margarine to get the right consistency.

If you use a hazelnut chocolate bar, you will make a hazelnut chocolate paste. If you think that the word “paste” is not very evocative, just call it a “spread” or make up your own fancy name for it.

The Ferrero company calls their chocolate paste “Nutella”.

Nutella ingredients are:

Sugar

Nutella ingredients are dominated by sugar, which makes up 55% of the mix. That’s about 20% more sugar than you would have if you made your own chocolate paste at home with a typical bar of milk chocolate.

Palm Oil

After sugar, palm oil is the most abundant ingredient in Nutella. You need oil to make chocolate paste because the other ingredients do not contain enough of their own oils to make a suspension. The manufacturers of Nutella have chosen palm oil.

Mass-market packaged foods industries love palm oil, because it is cheap, plentiful, low-odour, low-colour and naturally solid at room temperature.

Nutritionally, you can do a lot better. Unlike alternatives like olive oil, industrial palm oil is a highly saturated and thoroughly purified seed oil with few benefits besides a high calorie density.

Palm oil cultivation in massive tropical plantations is a major cause of environmental degradation.

Hazelnuts

The original Italian Gianduja sweet had a hazelnut to chocolate ratio of about 7:1, but the Nutella hazelnut to chocolate ratio is less than 2:1. Hazelnuts make up just 13% of Nutella! 87% of Nutella is not hazelnuts. The hazelnuts are a flavouring, rather than a core component of the product.

Therefore, calling Nutella a “hazelnut chocolate spread” is misleading. It is more truthful to call it sugar paste flavoured with hazelnuts, cocoa, and vanillin.

Milk Powder

Close to 9% of Nutella is milk powder. This is helps to give it a distinctive creamy taste and texture.

Cocoa Powder

The cocoa powder ingredient is about 7% of Nutella by weight.

Emulsifier

The emulsifer is Soy lecithin which holds the ingredients in Nutella together. Extracted from soybeans and widely used in the food industry to bind oily and watery ingredients together. The emulsifier ensures that you do not find a layer of oil sitting on your Nutella when you open a fresh jar. Don’t. worry though, the oil is very much there!

Vanillin

Made from wood creosote, Vanillin is an artificial flavour which imparts a hint of vanilla to the flavour of Nutella.

Nutella Ingredients Conclusion

Whilst Nutella tastes awesome, it is packed with “empty” calories. Nutella is not an everyday healthy food.

Our final, inescapable conclusion about Nutella is that it is an unhealthy confection. It is a lolly in spreadable form. Eat it as you would an ice-cream sundae topping: very rarely, as a guilty indulgence. Do not smear it on your toast every day, because Nutella is junk food.

Nutella is Junk Food



The calcount Team

Australian Food is Good

With an abundance of natural resources and almost 27,000 businesses in our food industry, Australia is a tremendous producer of food. According to the Australian Food and Grocery Council, the food and grocery sector turned over almost $119 billion in 2013-14, which means that it accounts for about a third of total manufacturing in Australia. It is a massive industry dominated by some enormous food growing, processing, and retailing companies who list shares on Australian and international stock exchanges. The sector has a very bright future as growing populations in Asia are expected to demand ever greater amounts of the meat, milk, sugar, rice, fruit and vegetables that we produce. This epic prospect has attracted the interest of companies and capital from all over the world, and led to more and more consolidation as companies try to grow in scale to keep up with demand.
Smaller is better?
But what does growth and consolidation mean for the average consumer? By and large, it means that ever greater amounts of acceptable quality food is produced, so that export earnings rise and more and more people around the world get to enjoy Australia’s bounty. On balance it is a positive mega-trend which seems unstoppable, but we can think of a few reasons that it does not fully benefit local consumers:
  • It means that the contents of our shopping baskets are determined by export markets. Why is it more and more common to find Gold Kiwifruit in the supermarket, where before there was only Green Kiwifruit? It is because Gold Kiwifruit is smoother and sweeter than Green, and much more favoured in China. The producers in New Zealand now grow much more Gold and comparatively less Green, so we end up with a different mix of choices. The new choice is not itself a bad thing, until producers stop growing Green Kiwifruit altogether and our grandchildren never get to experience their unique tang.
  • Lack of diversity for commercial reasons. When international markets are targeted, producers and investors look for sure things rather than experimental products. It makes more commercial sense to grow massive amounts of Fuji apples in your orchard if you know that there is a steady and growing demand for it from a consolidated buyer, rather than growing a mix of Fuji, Green Dragon, Pink Pearl and Pink Lady, even if you know that you could sell a few hundred kilos of Pink Pearl at your local farmers’ market. When was the last time you saw Pink Pearl apples at your local supermarket?
  • The push for ever greater productivity to meet high demand means that large producers are always looking for efficiencies. It now takes just over 40 days from the time a chicken is hatched to the time it ends up in the Meat Section of your local supermarket – quite a feat considering that chickens ‘in the wild’ have a lifespan of 10+ years and 30 years ago it used to take farmers almost 80 days to get chickens ready for market. Chicken produced in the new rapid way (let’s call it ‘fast’ chicken) is much cheaper than chicken grown in a slower-paced environment, but some consumers might still want the alternative ‘slow’ chicken. This is because some consumers might feel better about buying a meat product that has experienced some degree of dignity during its life. As industry consolidation continues and producers get bigger and more automated, it is possible that there will be so few ‘slow chicken’ producers left that it will be far too expensive for the average family to eat anything but the ‘fast’ chicken.
  • Food mileage has become a real issue for some consumers. Some studies have shown that the average total distance travelled by the contents of the average Australian food basket is over 70,000km, which is almost twice the circumference of the earth! This is important because such long transport distances must be enabled by energy-hungry freight methods like refrigerated trucks, trains, ships, and planes. The food itself must often be treated with preservative chemicals and subjected to unusual temperatures and packaging so that it can survive the journey to arrive looking freshly picked. Ever wonder why some bananas come wrapped in airtight wraps with red paper covering the stalks? Have you ever tried to breathe the gas trapped in the wrapper just as you rip it?
  • Profit sharing is a consideration for some consumers. According to local farmer advocates, only 18 cents out of every dollar spent at local Australian supermarkets go to the food grower. Some consumers would prefer to see more of the money they spend go directly to the farmer, rather than the supply chain which supports him or her.
The alternative to Big Producers
Considering the shortcomings of large food producers and distributors, there is a growing trend which has seen some consumers actively seek out smaller producer products. Their rationale for doing so rests on the assumption that if supported, enough of them will survive so that a degree of diversity and choice will remain into the future. If you wanted to spread your food spend beyond the Big Producers, there are several alternatives open to you:
  1. Grow some of your own food in your back yard. Get the kids involved with planting and maintaining a seasonal vegetable patch.
  2. Visit local farmers’ markets whenever you can. Unfortunately, some marketeers in these gatherings exploit the good intentions of their customers by overcharging, but you can often find high quality, reasonably priced produce.
  3. Shop at your local independent grocer if you notice that they stock slightly unorthodox products. Products sourced from major food distributors have a certain uniformity which is quite difficult to disguise. A sure sign that your local is using independent producers is when there are major price differences between their leafy vegetables (kale, lettuce, cabbage, bok-choy) compared to the major supermarkets.
  4. Buy some of your food from smaller distributors who purposefully avoid Big Producers. They make a point to source produce directly from small-scale producers and deliver it directly to consumers, thereby cutting out several links of the modern supply-chain.
The calcount Team

Sardine Sangers with a Smile

Dennis remembers sardines from his childhood. “We would get home from school and Mum would serve a pile of sandwiches on a plate with hot chocolate. There were always two sardine sandwiches in the pile, the way Mum always made them mashed with chopped up raw onion and butter on the bread. My brother and I always left them for last in the vain hope that Mum would relent and let us get away with not eating them.” Dennis did not like sardines when he was a boy, but he cannot get enough of them as a man. We have known Dennis for years and when he found out that we write about food he had to tell us all about his favourite fish, so we sat down with him over a coffee and sardines on toast to talk about why everyone should tuck into these small oily fish at least once per fortnight.
Baleful stares
There is something about a can of sardines that many people find slightly distasteful. Maybe it is the way they are packed in there with glistening scales and misshapen bodies squished into triangular prisms. Sometimes the heads are left on, so you get to feel a bit guilty as you feel their glassy stares. Often, they are not gutted so you get to eat the bones, skin, organs, brain and fins. Some people find the taste overpoweringly distinct so it is difficult to add them to anything other than bland familiarity like bread, pasta and rice. “But here’s the thing”, says Dennis, “Gram for gram they are probably the most nutritious foods on the planet!”.
Napoleon canned them first
The name “Sardine” is actually misleading because there is no single species of fish officially called by that name. Any small, oily fish in the herring family (there are over 200 species of fish in the herring family) are called sardines and marketed as such. When these same fish get a bit bigger they are called “Pilchards” and marketed as such. To make matters more confusing, pilchards are known as sardines in some countries, and vice-versa in others! Whatever you call them, people have been eating them for as long as they have caught fish from the sea. They are eaten fresh but historically most people ate them salted, smoked, or pickled because they preserve well due to their small size. And then along came Napoleon whose government offered a prize to anyone who could find a way to preserve large amounts of food for his army to march with. A Frenchman named Nicolas Appert rose to the challenge and canned sardines became a thing and the rest is history.
Dense nutrition in every bite
Sardines have come to prominence recently because they are the darling of the Paleo Diet community. It is difficult to think of any other food available from your local supermarket which contains almost the whole animal, tail-to-snout. Opened and upturned on a board, the contents of the can would be something a cave-man would lick his fingers for. “This is what I didn’t know as a child crunching down Mum’s onion and sardine sangers: they pack a lot of hard-to-get nutrients and a little bit of everything else into a small package”, says Dennis. “Let’s run down the list:”
  1. Protein: sardines are a potent source of easily absorbed protein. Protein is an essential macro-nutrient and in sardines it comes with lashings of healthy fats. The combination works to slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood, so reducing blood sugar spikes and troughs.
  2. Fatty acids: the oiliness of sardines is a clue to possibly their best nutritional attribute. They are incredibly good sources of the omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA which work in the body to reduce inflammation everywhere. These oils break down bad cholesterol and arterial plaque, so helping to control blood pressure and prevent heart disease. It does not stop there because omega-3 fats also help by slowing down the age-related degeneration of brain and eye tissue. But wait there’s more! Fish oil from sardines has also been found to promote a growth in the numbers of B cells, which are a type of white blood cell.
  3. Essential vitamins: the list of micro-nutrients found in sardines goes on and on, but the stand-out stars are B12 and D. Several studies show that Australians are often deficient in both of these important vitamins, even though vitamin D is made by our own bodies through exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is needed for a variety of body functions including the maintenance and growth of bones and teeth. B12 is essential for proper nerve and brain function. A regular can of sardines contains enough B12 to meet three times the daily requirement for adults.
  4. Essential minerals: Sardines are usually eaten whole, bones and all, so you get a wealth of different minerals, including calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium along with the protein and oil. A can of sardines contains about 35% of the calcium adults need on a daily basis, making them a go-to food resource for anyone concerned about avoiding osteoporosis.
Safe and sustainable
Many people have concerns about eating sea fish, because they tend to accumulate pollutants such as lead, mercury, and other heavy metals found in the oceans. Others shy away from them because of environmental concerns because some species are being over-fished to the detriment of global ecosystems. The good news is that sardines, being near the top of food chains, do not accumulate significant amounts of heavy metals in their bodies. “You are much more likely to find mercury in large predator fish like tuna, because they eat lots of small fish and live for much longer…” says Dennis. Sardines, with a natural maximum lifespan estimated at just 4 years live fast and die young. From a fisheries sustainability perspective, sardines are generally classed as being one of the least threatened species due to their rapid reproduction cycles and vast global spread.
Dennis’s Mum’s Sardine Sangers
So Dennis gave us his mum’s simple recipe (299 calories per serve):
Ingredients:
One small can of Whole Sardines in oil (105g)
2 slices of Whole-wheat Bread
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
Thin spread of spreadable butter
Lemon juice to taste
Directions:
Spread butter on bread. In a small bowl, mash sardines with onions and lemon juice. Scoop sardine mash onto one slice of buttered bread, cover with other slice. Serve with a smile.