The Muffin Makeover: Myths Busted

Don’t you just love studies that condone a high-fat diet and tell you that it’s good for. Here’s a new one. From Harvard it self. Digest it immediately, cause you know what they say about theories, hypotheses and studies… they only stand till the next one comes around to debunk them,

Picture courtesy: lululuathome.com

Well, researchers at Harvard claim to have busted the low-fat muffin myth. They say low-fat diets are not better for you compared to moderate- or high-fat diets, and in fact, could be worse for you. The same logic extends to low-fat muffins.  Apparently, low-fat ones full of whole grains and low on sugar and salt aren’t so heart-healthy.

You can read the full article on the Harvard page.

The guys at the CIA of the food industry (yes, that actually spells out to Culinary Institute of America) have come out with a list of tips for homecooks and professional chefs for a healthy muffin… to summarise a smaller, but rich-in-the-right-stuff-without-compromising-on-taste muffin…

Here are a few of their tips:

  • Downsize the portions. The mega-muffins popular in bake shops are two to three times the size of the muffins your grandmother might have baked.
  • Go whole on the grains. It’s easy to substitute whole wheat flour for 50% of the white flour in recipes without harming taste or texture. And with a few recipe alterations, delicious muffins can be made with 100% whole grains. See the Lemon Chickpea Breakfast Muffin and the Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffin recipes as examples.
  • Slash the sugar. You can cut 25% of the sugar from most standard muffin recipes without any negative impact on flavor or texture, and in some recipes, cut back even more.
  • Pour on the oil. Liquid plant oils—canola, extra virgin olive oil, corn, sunflower, and others—help keep whole-grain muffins moist and are a healthier choice than melted butter or shortening.
  • Bring out the nuts. For extra protein and an additional source of healthy fats, add chopped nuts.
  • Scale back the salt. The best way to reduce salt is to make a smaller muffin and to pair muffins with foods, such as vegetables and fruits, that are sodium-free.
  • Pump up the produce—and flavor! Fresh whole fruit and unsweetened dried fruit naturally contain sugar, but unlike other sweeteners, they also contain fiber and important nutrients. Using fruit in your muffins means you can have a lighter hand on the added sugar. Cooked or raw vegetables, such as caramelized onions, sliced jalapeños, and chives and other fresh herbs—together with a whole range of spices—can add interesting textures and savory flavors to muffins.
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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cinnamin
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 23:22:08

    Namu this is great! Thanks for sharing. I was thinking about making a healthy muffin. Still need a muffin tray though.

    Reply

  2. Namrata Kilpady
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 04:26:34

    Thanks Meenaxi! You must. I want to get some cookie cutters, nice fun shapes. So hard to find in Delhi. Thought I’d go to crawford market when I’m in bombay next…

    Reply

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