Have you ever questioned if your food choices are the healthier options? Our dietitian provides the low-down on some staples like eggs, full-fat dairy foods, butter and salads.

Dear Health Xchange,
I am a 17 year-old-student and have recently embarked on eating healthy and exercising regularly. However, I have some questions about food choices, and information that I have gathered from websites differ somewhat. I hope you’ll be able to help me with them.
Thank you!

Replies from a dietitian from the N​utrition and Dietetics Department at​ KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group.

Dear Ina,
It is good that you have embarked on a regime of eating more fruits and vegetables, and exercising regularly. It is also commendable that you are reading up more about healthy living. I hope the answers to your questions below will give you a clearer idea on how to make the right food choices and stay on the healthy path.

Q: Are egg yolks high in cholesterol and hence, bad for our health? What is the recommended serving of eggs per week for a teenager?

A: Yes, egg yolks are high in cholesterol, but this is not necessarily bad for our health. Recent studies suggest that regular egg consumption (up to seven eggs a week) in the general population does not increase the risk of heart disease. However, consuming a wide variety of foods is the best way to obtain all the nutrients you need for op​timal health, hence the Health Promotion Board recommends consuming up to four eggs per week.

Q: What is the stand on low-fat vs full-fat dairy products? Is it true that full-fat foods are needed to assist in absorption of other nutrients from the other foods I eat?

A: It is recommended that children from as young as two years onwards may select low-fat or non-fat dairy products as part of their diet. It is true that fat is needed to assist with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, namely vitamin A, D, E and K. However, the fats need not necessarily have to come from full-fat dairy products. Much of the fat in full-fat dairy products is saturated fat, which is associated with increasing one’s bad cholesterol. So choose fats from polyunsaturated or monounsaturated sources instead.

Note: Sources of polyunsaturated fats include deep sea fatty fishes (e.g. tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring and salmon), legumes (soybeans), seeds (flaxseed), nuts (walnuts) and their oils. Sources of monounsaturated fats in​​clude most nuts, olive oil, canola oil and avocado.

Read on for FAQs on butter, salads, and more​​.

Ref. O17​