Are these ‘unhealthy’ foods as bad as we think?

Are these 'unhealthy' foods as bad as we think?We are all told horror stories about the following unhealthy meals, but are we being a bit hasty? And how can we make them more nutritious?

Recently the McDonald’s double cheeseburger has been described as “the cheapest, most nutritious and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history” by Stephen Dubner (co-author of book ‘Freakonomics’). While this statement certainly has caused a ruckus in the nutritional world, it has got us thinking – are all these so-called ‘bad’ foods that unhealthy?

Fish and chips

A Friday night treat doused in salt and vinegar – fish and chips are rarely considered a healthy choice. That being said, the fish itself is very nutritious, with one portion providing vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium and essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Make it healthy – go easy on the chips, avoid too much salt and add a side salad or mushy peas to bump up the nutritional value.


Incredibly high in fat, those of us who are health conscious tend to avoid cheese – but some varieties are beneficial to our health. For example, cheddar is high in calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin A, zinc and folate.

Make it healthy – include small amounts of cheddar in your diet but avoid combining it with other fatty foods.


Thick stuff-crust pizzas with double cheese and fatty meat toppings are certainly not good for you, however there are elements that make pizza nutritious. The cheese offers calcium, while tomato sauce can provide vitamins A and C.

Make it healthy – stick to thin, whole-wheat bases, half the cheese and top with lean meats and vegetables.


Again, certain chocolate bars are decidedly unhealthy but not all chocolate should be tarred with the same brush. Cocoa itself is rich in minerals and flavanols, while the milk provides calcium. Good quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is ideal for those wanting to reap the most nutritional benefit of this treat.

Make it healthy – eat a couple of squares of dark chocolate when a craving hits.

To find out more about the nutritional quality of food, why not speak to a nutritionist? Take a look at our Balanced Diet page for more details.

View and comment on the original Telegraph article.

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Written by Kat Nicholls
Kat is a Content Producer for Memiah and writer for Nutritionist Resource and Happiful magazine.
Written by Kat Nicholls
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